Minerals (Category B)
Corundum is a crystalline form of aluminium oxide (Al
3) typically containing traces of iron, titanium, vanadium and chromium. It is a rock-forming mineral. It is one of the naturally transparent materials, but can have different colors when impurities are present. Transparent specimens are used as gems, called ruby if red and padparadscha if pink-orange. All other colors are called sapphire, e.g., "green sapphire" for a green specimen.
The name "corundum" is derived from the Tamil word Kuruvindam or Sanskrit word Kuruvinda meaning ruby.
Because of corundum's hardness (pure corundum is defined to have 9.0 Mohs), it can scratch almost every other mineral. It is commonly used as an abrasive on everything from sandpaper to large machines used in machining metals, plastics, and wood. Some emery is a mix of corundum and other substances, and the mix is less abrasive, with an average Mohs hardness of 8.0.