Feldspar is the name given to a group of minerals distinguished by the presence of alumina and silica (SiO2) in their chemistry. This group includes aluminum silicates of soda, potassium, or lime. It is the single most abundant mineral group on Earth. They account for an estimated 60% of exposed rocks, as well as soils, clays, and other unconsolidated sediments, and are principal components in rock classification schemes. The minerals included in this group are the orthoclase, microcline and plagioclase feldspars.
Feldspar is used to make dinnerware and bathroom and building tiles. In ceramics and glass production, feldspar is used as a flux. A flux is a material that lowers the melting temperature of another material, in this case, glass.
Substitutes and Alternative Sources
Feldspar can be replaced by other minerals and mineral mixtures of similar physical properties. Minerals that could be used to replace feldspar include pyrophyllite, clays, talc, and feldspar-silica (quartz) mixtures. The abundance of feldspar will make these substitutions unnecessary for the foreseeable future.