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Any of a group of hydrous potassium, aluminum silicate minerals that exhibit a two-dimensional sheet, or layer, structure. A very abundant variety of mica is muscovite; two other common varieties are biotite and phlogopite. Micas have various industrial uses. The varieties that contain little iron are used as thermal or electrical insulators in appliances and in such electrical devices as capacitors. In ground form, micas are used in the manufacture of wallpaper, roofing paper, and paint. Ground micas also serve as lubricants, absorbents, and packing material.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mica, visit Britannica.com.