While kaolin is white and clean and considered pure clay mineral, ball clays, by comparison, are generally grey or brownish in color and differ in the following ways:
- They have a much finer ultimate particle size
- They contain organic material, especially lignite, that darken the raw color
- They are much more plastic and suspend better
- They contain chemical impurities that darken fired color (especially iron oxide)
- They melt at a lower temperature.
The principal properties of ball clays that make them useful for a range of applications is:
- Ultra-fine particle size: Ultimate particles can be 0.2 microns
- Flat-shaped aluminum-silicate particles of high resistance to heat and acid attack
- Affinity for water: The particles have a surface chemistry that attracts water and holds onto it
- Surface area: Only bentonite and similar minerals have a higher surface area than ball clays
- Very high plasticity: They are suitable as binders, suspenders, plasticizers.
Plainsman has a large deposit of ball clay in southern Saskatchewan and has actively mined it since the 1970s. While having the same general properties as other commercially available products (e.g. those from the southeastern US), this has several advantages:
- Lower shipping costs for the western and northwestern part of the continent
- We can produce at coarser particle sizes
- We can custom-blend ball clays with other clays from our quarries to create custom materials
- Plainsman has very responsive customer service, sales and technical support departments
- Plainsman can deliver a consistent product quickly.
Product Data Sheet
A2 Ball Clay