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Title: Tobermorite  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Calcium silicate hydrate, Thaumasite, Cement
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Crystalline mass of tobermorite
Category Silicate mineral,
Calcium silicate hydrate
(repeating unit)
Ca5Si6O16(OH)2·4H2O, or;
Crystal symmetry Orthorhombic 2 2 2
Unit cell a = 11.17 Å, b = 7.38 Å, c = 22.94 Å; β = 90°; Z = 4
Formula mass 702.36
Color Pale pinkish white, white, brown
Crystal habit As minute laths; fibrous bundles, rosettes or sheaves, radiating or plumose, fine granular, massive.
Crystal system Orthorhombic - Disphenoidal
Cleavage {001} Perfect, {100} Imperfect
Mohs scale hardness 2.5
Luster Vitreous, silky in fibrous aggregates
Streak White
Diaphaneity Translucent to translucent
Specific gravity 2.423 - 2.458
Optical properties Biaxial (+)
Refractive index nα = 1.570 nβ = 1.571 nγ = 1.575
Birefringence δ = 0.005
Ultraviolet fluorescence Fluorescent, Short UV:weak white to yellow, Long UV:weak white to yellow
References [1][2][3]
Not to be confused with torbernite, a hydrated copper uranyl phosphate.

Tobermorite is a calcium silicate hydrate mineral with chemical formula: Ca5Si6O16(OH)2·4H2O or Ca5Si6(O,OH)18·5H2O.

Two structural varieties are distinguished: tobermorite-11 Å and tobermorite-14 Å. Tobermorite occurs in hydrated cement paste and can be found in nature as alteration mineral in metamorphosed limestone and in skarn. It has been reported from the Maqarin Area of north Jordan and in the Crestmore Quarry near Crestmore Heights, Riverside County, California.

Tobermorite was first described in 1880 for an occurrence in Scotland, on the Isle of Mull, around the locality of Tobermory.[2]

Use in Roman concrete

Aluminium substituted tobermorite is understood to be a key ingredient in the longevity of ancient Roman undersea concrete, as per the American Ceramic Society.[4]

Crystal structure of tobermorite: elementary unit cell

See also


  1. ^ Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Webmineral data
  4. ^ , Jim Destefani, ed., Ceramic Tech Today, The American Ceramic Society, June 7, 2013Ancient lessons: Roman concrete durable, green

External links

  • Tobermorite in the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
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