cryolite

[krahy-uh-lahyt]
noun
a mineral, sodium aluminum fluoride, Na 3 AlF 6 , occurring in white masses, used as a flux in the electrolytic production of aluminum.
Also called Greenland spar.


Origin:
1795–1805; cryo- + -lite

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cryolite (ˈkraɪəˌlaɪt)
 
n
a white or colourless mineral consisting of a fluoride of sodium and aluminium in monoclinic crystalline form: used in the production of aluminium, glass, and enamel. Formula: Na3AlF6

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cryolite

colourless to white halide mineral, sodium aluminum fluoride (Na3AlF6). It occurs in a large deposit at Ivigtut, Greenland, and in small amounts in Spain, Colorado, U.S., and elsewhere. It is used as a solvent for bauxite in the electrolytic production of aluminum and has various other metallurgical applications, and it is used in the glass and enamel industries, in bonded abrasives as a filler, and in the manufacture of insecticides. A large amount of synthetic cryolite is made from fluorite. For detailed physical properties, see halide mineral (table)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Molten cryolite functions as both the electrolyte and the solvent for the
  alumina.
Cryolite, which is sodium aluminum fluoride, was disposed of into on-site ponds.
The comparative toxicity of cryolite for rats and for rabbits.
Molten cryolite is used as the electrolyte and also as a solvent.
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