How Do Scientists Measure Minerals?
Scientists usually measure minerals by their hardness and by their density (how heavy they are for their size). Precious stones and metals can also be measured in carats.
Carat has two meanings. For measuring precious stones, such as diamonds, a carat is 0.2g.
So a diamond that weighs 1g is a 5 carat diamond. For precious metals, the carat (or Karat) shows how pure the metal is. Gold, for example, is often mixed with other metals to make it more durable.
One karat stands for 1/24 of the mixture. So 18-carat gold is 18/24 gold, and 24-carat gold is pure gold.
Uses of Minerals
Diamond is an example of a mineral mined from the Earth. It is the hardest of all materials, and it can cut through most other things easily. That is why it is used to make drills. So how are diamonds themselves cut? They can be split in half by giving them a knock with a hammer, or cut using another diamond or a laser.
Is There Really Minerals in Mineral Water?
Yes. Mineral water that you buy in a bottle has usually been collected from a natural underground spring. It has been filtered through layers of rock gradually dissolving small amounts of minerals.
Sometimes these are good for you and sometimes they just make the water taste nice.
What is a Barium Metal?
Barium sulphite, made from the mineral barite, shows up very well in an X-ray photograph. So if you have something wrong with your stomach, doctors may give you a “barium meal” to swallow –
to make your intestines show up!
X-ray pictures, like this one of a hand, are made using radioactive minerals.
Can Minerals Be Used to Treat People With Diseases?
Yes, one of the most important mineral treatments is chemotherapy which is used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are made from minerals like barite and platinum.