Barite is a mineral composed of barium sulfate (BaSO4). Most of the time it is colorless or white, but could be found in any color, depending on the impurities in the crystals during their formation. Barite comes from the Greek word “barys” which means “heavy.” This name is in response to barite’s high specific gravity of 4.5, which is unusually high for a non-metallic mineral. The high specific gravity of barite makes it very useful for a wide range of industrial, medical and manufacturing uses. Barite also serves as the principal ore of barium. However it is relatively soft, measuring measures only 3 to 3.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness. Barite is chemically inert and insoluble it is non-toxic. It also has a low oil absorption property as well as having a low abrasiveness and opaqueness to x-rays.
Barite is mined in about 20 countries worldwide. The most important commercial barite deposits are found in bedded sedimentary rocks which formed when barite precipitated onto the bottom of the ocean. It is also found as concretions in sand and sandstone. Because of crystals of barite grow into some interesting shapes within the sand, they are called “barite roses”.
The types of deposits in which barite is normally found include vein, residual, and bedded. Vein and residual deposits are of hydrothermal origin, while bedded deposits are sedimentary. It is considered a worthless mineral associated with sulfide ore veins. It is found together with conjunction with both metallic and nonmetallic mineral ores (such as antimony, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese and silver). In a few locations barite is deposited as a sinter at hot springs.
Substitutes for barite in drilling mud include: celestite, ilmenite, iron ore and synthetic hematite. None of these substitutes have been effective at taking place of barite in any major market area. They are either too expensive or do not perform competitively.
Oil – Gas Well Drilling
The main use for barite is as a “weighting agent” in oil and natural gas drilling. Basically, barite is crushed and mixed with water and other materials and becomes mud. Then it is pumped into the drill hole. The weight of this mixture push back the oil and gas when it is released from the ground. This helps the oil and gas rig operators to prevent the explosive release of the oil and gas from the ground. The softness of the mineral also prevents it from damaging drilling tools during drilling and enables it to serve as a lubricant. The majority of barite consumption (nearly 98%) in the United States is for this drilling application. However, the consumption in drilling “mud” changes from year to year, as it depends on the amount of exploration drilling for oil and gas, which in turn depends on oil and gas prices. The American Petroleum Institute (API) has established specifications for the use of barite in drilling mud.
This mineral is used in the papermaking industry. High-refined barites powder could be used as the filling of white paperboard and coat paper, improve the whiteness and percentage of coverage Consequently, this helps to give it a clean white look.
Barytes is a wonderful replacement to expensive materials used in dope and painting. It is an amazing replacement to basofor, crypton, titanium dioxide, activity and monox which are used for filling. It is very effective in controlling the viscosity of the paint. It is also very effective in increasing the stability of the paint and adding more brightness to the paint. It has a clean whiteness which makes it very effective as an extender for primers. It is highly effective in providing chemical resistance to the walls and smoothness to the undercoats thereby promising beautiful and smooth walls.
It is also used as heavy inert filler. Due to having a high refractive index and high resistance to acids and alkalies and high bulk density as well as being insoluble in water makes it all the more useful in the paint industry. Barite could be alternative to some expensive material such as basofor, crypton, titaniumdioxide, activity, monox etc. Controlling the viscosity of the paint compatibly makes the products with bright color, good stability.
Barite has the unique ability to strongly absorb X-rays and gamma rays. Hence, it is used in medical science for special X-ray tests on the intestines and colon (a high-purity form of barite is used in the gastrointestinal tract where its density prevents x-ray penetration, and thus is visible on an x-ray. It is also mixed with cement to make special containers used to store radioactive materials, also stops radiation from computer monitors and television tubes as ceramic glazes and lead glasses. Barite is used to make high-density concrete to block x-ray emissions in hospitals, power plants, and laboratories.
The barite products less than 500 mesh is used as the filling of rubber products. It improves the intensity, acid, alkali and water proof. The grinded barite powder is an important additive to create beautiful and colorful plastics as well as improving its hardness, wear resistance and durability properties. It makes better the reinforcing action of caoutchouc and synthetic rubber too.
The main properties of barite powder are high whiteness, gentle, mild effect and harmless to skin. It is a perfect replacement for titanium dioxide.
Adhesives & Sealants
Barite is dense, inert, sound & radiation-absorbing fillers for special sealants and adhesives. It is prefered when a higher weight is required in the adhesive.
In medicine, it could be used as barium meal material for the intestines and stomach reflection. Another important usage of barites in pharmaceutical industry includes the usage for filling of plaster and drug in order to extend the time limit of the plaster.
Barite serves effectively when it comes to driving away rats from your home, as it is an important ingredient in rat poison. It is also used in commercial applications like sugar refining. Recently, barite have been used in the production of brake pads and clutches for cars and trucks.