Cristobalite properties are important in a variety of industries. These include glass, cement, ceramics, and metals. This mineral is chemically identical to quartz. However, cristobalite has a more open structure.
Cristobalite is a naturally occurring mineral. It can be found in the ashes of volcanic eruptions. In some cases, cristobalite and quartz are released to the environment by natural wind erosion or human activities. While they do not pose any concern to the general population, Canadians are reminded to follow personal protective equipment when handling these materials.
Cristobalite can be formed from a finely ground silica powder. During devitrification, the material will deviate from quartz. Depending on the temperature, cristobalite may form as a diamond or white octahedra.
Cristobalite can be superheated. Over 300degC, single crystals have been observed. The idealized model of b-cristobalite shows corner-bonded SiO4 tetrahedra. Both cristobalite and quartz are composed of six-membered rings of corner-sharing tetrahedra.
Cristobalite has been studied using the Born model of solids. The model uses rigid-ion interatomic potentials and a shell interatomic potential. Using the shell interatomic potential, it is possible to calculate molar volume.
Although the stability field of cristobalite is quite similar to quartz, the structural disorder of the b-phase is not the only reason why fusion is not strongly favored. Rather, the low enthalpy of fusion of silica is a result of the dynamically disordered nature of the b phase.
As a result of these findings, the Government of Canada has recommended that no further action be taken on cristobalite. Canadians are reminded to wear safety warnings while handling this mineral and to carefully follow personal protective equipment.