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cryolite

cryolite or kryolite (both: krĪˈəlĪtˌ) [key] [Gr., = frost stone], mineral usually pure white or colorless but sometimes tinted in shades of pink, brown, or even black and having a luster like that of wax. Chemically, it is a double fluoride of sodium and aluminum, Na3AlF6. Its principal use is as a flux in the smelting of aluminum. It is used also as a source of soda, aluminum salts, fluorides, and hydrofluoric acid (by the action of sulfuric acid). It was discovered in Greenland in 1794 and occurs almost nowhere else. Cryolite has been produced synthetically.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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