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.

CategoryOxide mineral
(repeating unit)
IMA symbolBrc[1]
Strunz classification4.FE.05
Crystal systemTrigonal
Crystal classHexagonal crystal family (3m)
H-M symbol: (3 2/m)
Space groupP3m1
Unit cella = 3.142(1) Å, c = 4.766(2) Å; Z = 1
ColorWhite, pale green, blue, gray; honey-yellow to brownish red
Crystal habitTabular crystals; platy or foliated masses and rosettes – fibrous to massive
CleavagePerfect on {0001}
Mohs scale hardness2.5 to 3
LusterVitreous to pearly
Specific gravity2.39 to 2.40
Optical propertiesUniaxial (+)
Refractive indexnω = 1.56–1.59
nε = 1.58–1.60
Other characteristicsPyroelectric

It adopts a layered CdI2-like structure with hydrogen-bonds between the layers.[5]


Brucite was first described in 1824 by François Sulpice Beudant[6] 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, white and blue Brucite with a botryoidal habit was discovered in Qila Saifullah District of Province Baluchistan, Pakistan. And then in a later discovery Brucite also occurred in the Bela Ophiolite of Wadh, Khuzdar District, Province Baluchistan, Pakistan. Brucite has also occurred from South Africa, Italy, Russia, Canada, and other localities as well but the most notable discoveries are the US, Russian and Pakistani examples.

Industrial applications

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. Although generally deemed safe, brucite can be contaminated with naturally occurring asbestos fibers.[9]

Magnesium attack of cement and concrete

When cement or concrete are exposed to Mg2+, the neoformation of brucite, an expansive material, may induce mechanical stress in the hardened cement paste or may clog the porous system creating a buffering effect and delaying deterioration of the CSH phase into MSH phase. The exact magnitude of impact that brucite has over cement paste is still debatable. Prolonged contact between sea water or brines and concrete may induce durability issue although high concentrations are required for this effect, which are rare to find in nature.

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

See also


  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. Brucite on
  3. Handbook of Mineralogy
  4. Brucite on Webmineral
  5. Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-08-037941-8.
  6. "Blog | GeoRarities". 2021-01-13. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  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.
  9. Malferrari, Daniele; Di Guisseppe, Dario; Scognamiglio, Valentina; Gualtieri, Alessandro F. (2021). "Commercial brucite, a worldwide used raw material deemed safe, can be contaminated by asbestos". Periodico di Mineralogia. 90 (3): 317–324. doi:10.13133/2239-1002/17384.

Further reading

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