Sands Application in the Industrial Market
For industrial and manufacturing applications, deposits of silica-yielding products of at least 95% SiO2 are preferred. Silica is hard, chemically inert and has a high melting point, attributable to the strength of the bonds between the atoms. These are prized qualities in applications like foundries and filtration systems. Quartz may be transparent to translucent and has a vitreous luster, hence its use in glassmaking and ceramics. Industrial sand's strength, silicon dioxide contribution and non-reactive properties make it an indispensable ingredient in the production of thousands of everyday products.
Glassmaking: Silica sand is the primary component of all types of standard specialty glass. It provides the essential SiO2 component of glass formulation, and its chemical purity is the primary determinant of color, clarity and strength. Industrial sand is used to produce flat glass for building and automotive use, container glass for foods and beverages, and tableware. In its pulverized form, ground silica is required for production of fiberglass insulation and reinforcing glass fibers. Specialty glass applications include test tubes and other scientific tools, incandescent and fluorescent lamps, television and computer monitors.
Metal Casting: Industrial sand is an essential part of the ferrous and non-ferrous foundry industry. Metal parts ranging from engine blocks to sink faucets are cast in a sand and clay mold to produce the external shape and a resin-bonded core that creates the desired internal shape. Silica's high fusion point (1760°C) and low rate of thermal expansion produce stable cores and molds compatible with all pouring temperatures and alloy systems. Its chemical purity also helps prevent interaction with catalysts or curing rate of chemical binders. Following the casting process, core sand can be thermally or mechanically recycled to produce new cores or molds.
Metallurgical: Industrial sand plays a critical role in the production of a wide variety of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. In metal production, silica sand operates as a flux to lower the melting point and viscosity of the slags to make them more reactive and efficient. Lump silica is used either alone or in conjunction with lime to achieve the desired base/acid ratio required for purification. These base metals can be further refined and modified with other ingredients to achieve specific properties such as high strength, corrosion resistance or electrical conductivity. Ferroalloys are essential to specialty steel production, and industrial sand is used by the steel and foundry industries for de-oxidation and grain refinement.
Chemical Production: Silicon-based chemicals are the foundation of thousands of everyday applications ranging from food processing to soap and dye production. In this case, SiO2 is reduced to silicon metal by coke in an arc furnace to produce the Si precursor of other chemical processes. Industrial sand is the main component in chemicals such as sodium silicate, silicon tetrachloride and silicon gels. These chemicals are used in products like household and industrial cleaners to manufacture fiber optics and to remove impurities from cooking oil and brewed beverages.
Premier Silica's high silica content makes it ideal for all of these industrial applications.