From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Afwillite 2 on rock Hydrous calcium silicate Crestmore Quarry Riverside California 2068.jpg
Afwillite from Crestmore Quarry, Riverside County, California
(repeating unit)
IMA symbolAfw[1]
Strunz classification9.AG.75
Crystal systemMonoclinic
Crystal classDomatic (m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space groupCc
Unit cella = 16.278(1), b = 5.6321(4)
c = 13.236(1) [Å]; β = 134.9°; Z = 4
ColorColorless, white
Crystal habitPrismatic (striated), tabular, radial fibrous, massive
CleavagePerfect along [101], good along [100]
Mohs scale hardness3–4
DiaphaneityTransparent to translucent
Specific gravity2.630
Optical propertiesBiaxial (+)
Refractive indexnα = 1.617 nβ = 1.620 nγ = 1.634
Birefringenceδ = 0.0167
2V angleMeasured: 50° to 56°
Dispersionr < v
Other characteristicsPiezoelectric

Afwillite is a calcium hydroxide nesosilicate mineral with formula Ca3(SiO3OH)2·2H2O. It occurs as glassy, colorless to white prismatic monoclinic crystals. Its Mohs scale hardness is between 3 and 4. It occurs as an alteration mineral in contact metamorphism of limestone.[4] It occurs in association with apophyllite, natrolite, thaumasite, merwinite, spurrite, gehlenite, ettringite, portlandite, hillebrandite, foshagite, brucite and calcite.[4]

It was first described in 1925 for an occurrence in the Dutoitspan Mine, Kimberley, South Africa and was named for Alpheus Fuller Williams (1874–1953), a past official of the De Beers diamond company.[3]

Afwillite is typically found in veins of spurrite and it belongs to the nesosilicate sub-class. It is monoclinic, its space group is P2 and its point group is 2.

Formation of afwillite[edit]

It is suggested that afwillite forms in fractured veins of the mineral spurrite. Jennite, afwillite, oyelite and calcite are all minerals that form in layers within spurrite veins. It appears that afwillite, as well as calcite, forms from precipitated fluids. Jennite is actually an alteration of afwillite, but both formed from calcium silicates through hydration. Laboratory studies determined that afwillite forms at a temperature below 200 °C (392 °F), usually around 100 °C.[5] Afwillite and spurrite are formed through contact metamorphism of limestone.[6] Contact metamorphism is caused by the interaction of rock with heat and/or fluids from a nearby crystallizing silicate magma.[7]

Structure and properties[edit]

Afwillite has a complex monoclinic structure, and the silicon tetrahedra in the crystal structure are held together by hydrogen bonds.[8] It has perfect cleavage parallel to its (101) and poor cleavage parallel to its (100) faces.[9] It is biaxial and its 2V angle, the measurement from one optical axis to the other optical axis, is 50 – 56 degrees. When viewed under crossed polarizers in a petrographic microscope, it displays first-order orange colors, giving a maximum birefringence of 0.0167 (determined by using the Michel- Levy chart). Afwillite is optically positive. Additionally, it has a prismatic crystal habit.[5] Under a microscope afwillite looks like wollastonite, which is in the same family as afwillite.

Afwillite is composed of double chains that consist of calcium and silicon polyhedral connected to each other by sharing corners and edges. This causes continuous sheets to form parallel to its miller index [-101] faces. The sheets are bonded together by hydrogen bonds and are all connected by Ca-Si-O bonds (Malik and Jeffery, 1976).[8] Each calcium atom is in 6-fold octahedral coordination with the oxygen, and the silicon is in 4-fold tetrahedral coordination around the oxygen. Around each silicon there is one OH group and there are three oxygens that neighbor them.[8] The silicon tetrahedra are arranged so that they share an edge with calcium(1), and silicon(2) shares edges with the calcium(2) and calcium(3) polyhedral.[8] The silicon tetrahedra are held together by the OH group and hydrogen bonding occurs between the hydrogen in the OH and the silicon tetrahedra. Hydrogen bonding is caused because the positive ion, hydrogen, is attracted to negatively charge ions which, in this case, are the silicon tetrahedra.[7]

Occurrence in concrete[edit]

Afwillite is one of the calcium silicate hydrates (C-S-H) that form when Portland cement sets to form hardened cement paste (HCP) in concrete.[10] The cement gets its strength from the hydration of tri- and di- calcium silicates (C3S and C2S) present in the clinker.

See also[edit]

Other calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) minerals:


  1. ^ Warr, L.N. (2021). "IMA–CNMNC approved mineral symbols". Mineralogical Magazine. 85 (3): 291–320. Bibcode:2021MinM...85..291W. doi:10.1180/mgm.2021.43. S2CID 235729616.
  2. ^ Mindat with location data
  3. ^ a b Webmineral data
  4. ^ a b c Handbook of Mineralogy
  5. ^ a b Kusachi, I, Henmi, C. And Henmi K. (1989) Afwillite and jennite from Fuka, Okayama Prefecture. Japan. Miner J. 14, 279-292.
  6. ^ Barthemy, D. (2000) Afwillite Mineral Data, (
  7. ^ a b Klein, C. and Dutrow, K. (2007) Manual of Mineral Science. 23rd Edition, 63, 596
  8. ^ a b c d Malik, K. M. A & Jeffery J. W. (1976) A re-investigation of the structure of afwillite. Acta Crystallographica, B32, 475.
  9. ^ Megaw H. D. (1952). The structure of afwillite. Acta Crystallographica, 5, 477.
  10. ^ Archived 2016-05-27 at the Wayback Machine Moody, K. M., 1952, The thermal decomposition of afwillite, The Mineralogical Society