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Learn All About Barite


A heavy non-metal mineral.

What is Barite?

Barite is a naturally occurring, barium-based mineral. Barite is also known as baryte, and in the U.S. state of Missouri it is known as “tiff.” Barite may be found in a variety of colors including yellow, brown, white, blue, gray, or even colorless. Barite’s high density and chemical inertness make it an ideal mineral for many applications.

  • The name Barite comes from the Greek word “Barys” or “Heavy” because barite has a high-specific gravity of around 4.5, making it surprisingly heavy for a non-metallic mineral.

Where to Find Barite

Uses for Barite

Medical Industry A high-purity form of barite is used in the gastrointestinal tract where its density prevents x-ray penetration, and thus, is visible on an x-ray. The outline of the gastrointestinal tract becomes visible after consuming barium (a mixture of barium sulfate powder with water) allowing the determination of normal and abnormal anatomy.
Drilling Industry The majority of barite mined is used by the petroleum industry as a weighting material in the formulation of drilling mud. Barite increases the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud allowing it to compensate for high-pressure zones experienced during drilling. The softness of the mineral also prevents it from damaging drilling tools during drilling and enables it to serve as a lubricant.  
Other Uses Barite is also used in a wide variety of other applications including plastics, clutch pads, rubber mudflaps, mold release compounds, radiation shielding, television and computer monitors, sound-deadening material in automobiles, traffic cones, brake linings, paint, and golf balls.

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