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Category Oxide mineral
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 4.FE.05
Crystal system Trigonal
Crystal class Hexagonal scalenohedral (3m)
H-M symbol: (3 2/m)
Space group P3m1
Unit cell a = 3.142(1) Å, c = 4.766(2) Å; Z = 1
Color White, pale green, blue, gray; honey-yellow to brownish red
Crystal habit Tabular crystals; platy or foliated masses and rosettes – fibrous to massive
Cleavage Perfect on {0001}
Fracture Irregular
Tenacity Sectile
Mohs scale hardness 2.5 to 3
Luster Vitreous to pearly
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent
Specific gravity 2.39 to 2.40
Optical properties Uniaxial (+)
Refractive index nω = 1.56–1.59
nε = 1.58–1.60
Birefringence 0.02
Other characteristics Pyroelectric
References [1][2][3]

Brucite is the mineral form of magnesium hydroxide, with the chemical formula Mg(OH)2. It is a common alteration product of periclase in marble; a low-temperature hydrothermal vein mineral in metamorphosed limestones and chlorite schists; and formed during serpentinization of dunites. Brucite is often found in association with serpentine, calcite, aragonite, dolomite, magnesite, hydromagnesite, artinite, talc and chrysotile.

It adopts a layered CdI2-like structure with hydrogen-bonds between the layers.[4]


Brucite crystals from the Sverdlovsk Region, Urals, Russia (size: 10.5 x 7.8 x 7.4 cm

Brucite was first described in 1824 and named for the discoverer, American mineralogist, Archibald Bruce (1777–1818). A fibrous variety of brucite is called nemalite. It occurs in fibers or laths, usually elongated along [1010], but sometimes [1120] crystalline directions.


A notable location in the U.S. is Wood's Chrome Mine, Cedar Hill Quarry, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Yellow and white brucite with a botryoidal habit has been found in Kharan District, Pakistan.[5] Brucite also occurs in the Bela Ophiolite of Khuzdar District, Pakistan.[6]

Industrial applications[edit]

Structure of Mg(OH)2.

Synthetic brucite is mainly consumed as a precursor to magnesia (MgO), a useful refractory insulator. It finds some use as a flame retardant because it thermally decomposes to release water in a similar way to aluminium hydroxide and mixtures of huntite and hydromagnesite.[7][8] It also constitutes a significant source of magnesium for industry.

Magnesian attack of cement and concrete[edit]

When cement or concrete are exposed to Mg2+, the neoformation of brucite, an expansive material, induces mechanical stress in the hardened cement paste and is responsible for the formation of cracks and fissures in concrete. This kind of failure occurs upon prolonged contact between sea water or brines and concrete.

The use of dolomite as aggregate in concrete can also cause the magnesian attack and should be avoided.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brucite on
  2. ^ Handbook of Mineralogy
  3. ^ Brucite on Webmineral
  4. ^ Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0-08-037941-9. 
  5. ^ "Brucite from Kharan, Kharan District, Balochistan (Baluchistan), Pakistan". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Bashir et al., Mineralogy of the Kraubath-type magnesite deposits of the Khuzdar area, Baluchistan, Pakistan, Journal of the Earth Sciences Application and Research Centre of Hacettepe University, Yerbilimleri, 30 (3), 169–180. Accessed February 20, 2017
  7. ^ Hollingbery, LA; Hull TR (2010). "The Thermal Decomposition of Huntite and Hydromagnesite - A Review". Thermochimica Acta. 509 (1-2): 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.tca.2010.06.012. 
  8. ^ Hollingbery, LA; Hull TR (2010). "The Fire Retardant Behaviour of Huntite and Hydromagnesite - A Review". Polymer Degradation and Stability. 95 (12): 2213–2225. doi:10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2010.08.019. 

Further reading[edit]