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Apatite facts for kids

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Apatite group
Category Phosphate mineral
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 08.BN.05
Color Transparent to translucent, usually green, less often colorless, yellow, blue to violet, pink, brown.
Crystal habit Tabular, prismatic crystals, massive, compact or granular
Crystal system Hexagonal dipyramidal (6/m)
Cleavage [0001] indistinct, [1010] indistinct
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Mohs scale hardness 5 (defining mineral)
Luster Vitreous to subresinous
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Specific gravity 3.16–3.22
Polish luster Vitreous
Optical properties Double refractive, uniaxial negative
Refractive index 1.634–1.638 (+0.012, −0.006)
Birefringence 0.002–0.008
Pleochroism Blue stones – strong, blue and yellow to colorless. Other colors are weak to very weak.
Dispersion 0.013
Ultraviolet fluorescence Yellow stones – purplish-pink, which is stronger in long wave; blue stones – blue to light-blue in both long and short wave; green stones – greenish-yellow, which is stronger in long wave; violet stones – greenish-yellow in long wave, light-purple in short wave.

Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals with high concentrations of OH, F, Cl or ions, respectively, in the crystal.

Apatite is characteristic of biological systems. It is one of a few minerals produced and used by biological micro-environmental systems. It hardness defines 5 on the Mohs scale. Hydroxyapatite is the main component of tooth enamel and bone mineral.

Much bone material is in a relatively rare form of apatite. In this form most of the OH groups are absent, and there are many carbonate and acid phosphate substitutions.

Fluorapatite (or fluoroapatite) is more resistant to acid attack than is hydroxyapatite. In the mid-20th century it was discovered that communities whose water supply naturally contained fluorine had lower rates of dental caries. Fluoridated water allows exchange in the teeth of fluoride ions for hydroxyl groups in apatite. Similarly, toothpaste often includes a source of fluoride anions (e.g. sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate).

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Apatita para niños

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