Fluorspar is a form of calcium fluoride that occurs naturally in many parts of the world including North America, Mexico, and Europe. The compound gets its name from one of its oldest uses, as a flux. In Latin, the word fluor means "flux." A flux is a material that is used in industry to assist in the mixing of other materials or to prevent the formation of oxides during the refining of a metal. For example, fluorspar is often added to an open hearth steel furnace to react with any oxides that might form during that process. The mineral is also used during the smelting of an ore (the removal of a metal form its naturally occurring ore).
Fluorspar is also the principal source of fluorine gas. The mineral is first converted to hydrogen fluoride which, in turn, is then converted to the element fluorine. Some other uses of fluorspar are in the manufacture of paints and certain types of cement, in the production of emery wheels and carbon electrodes, and as a raw material for phosphors (a substance that glows when bombarded with energy, such as the materials used in color television screens).
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Incomplete dominance to IntuitionismIndustrial Minerals - Asbestos, Barite, Boron Compounds, Corundum, Fluorspar, Phosphates, Potassium Salts, Sodium Chloride - Feldspar