Ball clay is an extremely rare mineral that is found in many parts of the world. Ball clay is the most essential part of ceramic bodies. This material is easily molded and after baking at high temperatures it is white or near to white in color, and hence it can be properly identified as useful clay in the ceramic industry. The naming history of Ball clay originates to its extracting method from the mine (first time in the UK), in the form that at first a special hand tool was used to extract these materials, which were rugged and cubic in shape with dimensions of about 30 centimeter ,but due to the transfer, displacement and storage of these cubic shapes, gradually the corners and angles were hit and rounded and turned into balls and hence called Ball clay. Ball clay is a sedimentary clay that has a natural origin and is also known as a secondary clay, which means that natural weathering agents have transferred it from its original source , from which it originated.Its natural color can be yellow to black ,this color variation depends on the presence of other minerals in it and on the presence of the materials that have been deposited with it .Ball clay is a clay, like kaolin, and its difference with kaolin is high in plasticity and less resistance to heat. However, there is no difference in the Ball clay and Kaolin chemical composition, and they differ only in the ratio and amount of silica presentation in their composition. The general composition of the ball clay is often composed of 20 to 80% kaolinite, 10 to 25% mica, and 6 to 65% silica (quartz). In addition, other minor minerals and some carbonate of plant origin are present in its composition.
Ball clay which is a family of clay minerals, is used extensively in various industries including tile and ceramic, sanitary ware, porcelain, glass, refractory bricks, pottery, plastic, paper and as a filler in casting industries.