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Fluorapatite, often with the alternate spelling of fluoroapatite, is a mineral with the formula Ca5(PO4)3F (calcium halophosphate). Fluorapatite is a hard crystalline solid. Although samples can have various color (green, brown, blue, violet, or colorless), the pure mineral is colorless as expected for a material lacking transition metals. It is an important constituent of tooth enamel.
Additional recommended knowledge
Fluorapatite crystallizes in a hexagonal crystal system. It is often combined as a solid solution with hydroxylapatite (Ca5(PO4)3OH) in biological matrices. Chloroapatite (Ca5(PO4)3Cl) is another related structure.
Fluorapatite is the most common phosphate mineral. It occurs widely as an accessory mineral in igneous rocks and in calcium rich metamorphic rocks. It commonly occurs as a detrital or diagenic mineral in sedimentary rocks and is an essential component of phosphorite ore deposits. It occurs as a residual mineral in lateritic soils.
Fluorapatite can be synthesized in a two step process. First, calcium phosphate is generated by combining calcium and phosphate salts at neutral pH.This material then reacts further with fluoride sources (often sodium monofluorophosphate or calcium fluoride (CaF2)) to give the mineral. This reaction is integral in the global phosphorus cycle.
Fluorapatite can also be used as a precursor for the production of phosphorus. The mineral can be reduced by carbon in the presence of quartz, ultimately generating white phosphorus, P4:
2P2 → P4 after cooling.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fluorapatite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|