Mica is an example of sheet silicate minerals that can be employed in a number of different applications. As an element in both the creation of windowpanes and glass that is highly resistant to variations in temperature, mica can also be used in a number of electrical gadgets and equipment. Once considered a rare material, it is relatively inexpensive today, owing to the discovery of large mounts of the substance in Africa and South America during the 19th century.
The name for the mineral is understood to be derived from the Latin word micare, referring to its glittering appearance. Mica is among the minerals that tend to retain a sheen and glimmer in direct light. Along with being classified as a silicate, it is also among minerals that exhibit monoclinic properties similar to that of crystals.
Because mica has been found in a number of different types of rock formations, the price for it is much lower than in times past. The discovery of large deposits in South America and Africa in the 1800s was soon joined by mining operations in a number of other parts of the world as well. Currently, India is understood to possess large amounts of the mineral. China also ranks high as a producer of mica for various purposes, and such countries as South Korea, Canada, and the United States also are sources of a healthy output.
Mica can be used in a number of different ways. The mineral can be pressed into sheets that can be used as a substitute for glass panes. Because of the high tolerance for changing temperatures, it works well for greenhouses as well as for clear or tinted elements in doors and windows. Powdered white mica is utilized in a number of toothpaste formulas, while a means of separating electronic conductors in power cables. With the mineral found in many parts of the world, it is likely to be adapted for use in many other applications in the future.