What Is the Softest Material in the World

Julia | 05 - 19 - 2021

There are many minerals in this world. Some minerals are the hardest and some are the softest. But Talc is the softest mineral on the earth. Even the Mohs scale of hardness uses talc mineral as its starting point, with a value of 1. Get to know about the softest material on earth through our trivia blog.

Softest Material in the World

Talc is a silicate, a common mineral that is found on the earth. Talc contains silicon, oxygen. The magnesium and water are arranged as sheets in their crystal structure. The talc’s softness and flawless cleavage travel in one direction, which is due to weak chemical connections between neighbouring sheets that are easily broken by scratching or shearing. Talc makes a wonderful lubricant in circumstances but it can’t be placed under too much stress, such as body powders, because of its softness and cleavage. 

Talc is also sectile, which means it can be cut or carved easily. Stone carvers like blocks of talc-rich metamorphic rock known as soapstone or steatite. Ancient Egyptian scarab amulets were likely to be the first steatite carvings, which were burnt to “dewater” the talc and generate a more robust type of magnesium silicate that could endure wear and the test of time.

What Is the Softest Mineral in the World?
  • A. Talc
  • B. Corundum
  • C. Water
  • D. Quartz

What is Mohs Scale?

This is the universal scale for determining the hardness of substances, particularly minerals. The Mohs scale was named after the German mineralogist, Friedrich Mohs. Based on the Mohs scale the minerals are stated below

Hardness Material:

  1. Talc – Can easily get scratched by the fingernail
  2. Gypsum – Can get scratched by the fingernail
  3. Calcite – Can scratch and is scratched by a copper coin
  4. Fluorite – Cannot be scratched by a copper coin and does not scratch glass
  5. Apatite – Can just scratch the glass and is easily scratched by a knife
  6. Orthoclase – Can easily scratch the glass and is just scratched by a file
  7. Quartz – Cannot be scratched by a file
  8. Topaz – Can scratch itself 
  9. Corundum – Can be scratched by Topaz or Quartz
  10. Diamond – Can only be scratched by diamond

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