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The paper industry is the largest consumer of talc, where it is used as a filler to enhance opacity and improve printing properties. It is also used as a pitch control agent in the production of wood pulp to remove resinous, sticky remains of wood, which otherwise would create dark or thin spots in the paper. In the ceramic industry, which is also a large consumer, talc prevents delayed glaze crazing, lowers firing temperatures, and reduces fired shrinkage. Ceramic wall tile contains up to 65 percent talc in the formulation. Another important application is in paint and coatings. Talc improves exterior durability, controls viscosity, brushing, and gloss properties. It also reduces paint formulation costs, by extending or replacing more expensive resins and solvents.

The use of talc for plastic filling and reinforcement has grown rapidly in the past decade. When used in plastics, the plates of talc make the resin more rigid and stronger. Polypropylene parts reinforced with as much as 40 percent of talc have replaced metal in many automotive applications, such as bumpers, interior plastic ductwork and fascias, as manufacturers have aimed to reduce weight, improve gasoline mileage, and reduce the number of separate parts that have to be made. Another usage in plastics is as an antiblock in blown polyethylene films. Without the use of an antiblock, it is difficult to pull the two faces of a plastic bag apart.

Formula Mg3 Si4O10 (OH)2
Structure Hydrated magnesium sheet silicate