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Micas are part of the group of minerals that have layered crystal structures. There are natural micas, such as muscovites and phlogopites, and artificial micas synthesized from high-purity materials. The characteristics of micas are that they have low electrical conductivity, high heat-resisting properties and pearl-like luster.
Natural micas have long been used primarily as insulation materials for electrical products. Major mica-producing countries are India, China and Canada. In the U.S. and Japan where the natural resources of micas are scarce, studies were made to artificially synthesize micas in the 1960s through the 1970s. Artificial synthesis makes it possible to create colorless and transparent micas containing no heavy metals, etc.
Having a variety of characteristics that cannot be replaced by other materials, micas have been utilized in a wide scope of areas over recent years. For example, pigments where the surface of mica particles are coated with titanium dioxide, etc. are used for painting vehicles, buildings, mobile phones and other objects, as they give luster and a high chroma appearance. Powder micas, or a powdered form of micas, provide a lustrous appearance and a soft feel and are used in cosmetics such as foundations and lipsticks.