Health and medicine ...
Doctors and dentists use minerals too.
When you have a high temperature and are feeling ill, if you're at the dentist, or if you've had an accident and broken an arm or a leg, minerals are used to help you get better.
There are lots of places you can find minerals in the docotor's or dentist's surgery.
Scroll down and find out more about the minerals you use to healthy.
Have you ever broken an arm or a leg? If you have, did you have to wear a plaster cast while your bone mended?
Casts are made from bandages soaked in wet plaster. When they are wrapped around your arm or leg they set in a solid mass after a couple of hours. Plaster is made from a mineral called gypsum.
Think about the properties of gypsum:
- Easy to shape when wet
- Strong and rigid when set
- Quick to set (or harden)
You can see why we make plaster casts from gypsum.
Learn more about the mineral gypsum
When you are ill you may have your temperature taken using a thermometer. Many thermometers contain mercury that comes from an ore called cinnabar.
Mercury is a metal, but it is a liquid at normal room temperature. When you pop a thermometer under your tongue the mercury warms up and expands, shooting up the thin tube that holds it. You then read the thermometer to find out whether you have a temperature or not.
Think about the properties of mercury:
- Is a liquid at room temperature
- Expands with increasing body temperature
You can see why we use mercury in thermometers.
Learn more about a mineral that contains mercury
Mercury is also used at the dentists. The fillings you get when you have holes in your teeth are often made of amalgam - mercury is an ingredient in amalgam. Gold is also used to fill cavities, and to construct caps for teeth.
Think about the properties of gold:
- Does not rust
You can see why gold is useful at the dentists.
Learn more about gold
Some people (mainly rock stars) also decorate their teeth with diamond and ruby studs!
Some medicines also contain minerals. Kaolinite is a clay mineral that is sometimes added to medicines you swallow and to lotions that you rub on your skin.
Think about the properties of clay:
- Breaks up easily
You can see why clay makes a good base for lotions and medicines.
Learn more about the minerals we use in medicines
Find out about the minerals we use every day...
Building a house
In the kitchen
Around the home
Transport and technology
Neat and tidy
Health and medicine
Finish by playing Mineral mix and match! or return to the Homepage