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Industrial Sand

An indispensable ingredient.

What is Industrial Sand?

Industrial sand is an indispensable ingredient in the production of thousands of everyday products.

Industrial sands are high purity-silica products with closely controlled sizing. Silica is the name given to a group of minerals composed solely of silicon and oxygen (SiO2), the two most abundant elements in the earth’s crust. It exists in many different shapes and crystalline structures.

Quartz [JM1] [JM2] is the most common silica crystal and the second most common mineral on the earth’s surface. It is found in almost every type of rock: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. While quartz deposits are abundant, high purity and commercially viable deposits occur less frequently. Silica sand deposits are most commonly surface-mined in open pit operations, but dredging and underground mining are also employed. Extracted ore undergoes considerable processing to increase the silica content by reducing impurities. It is then dried and sized to produce the optimum particle size distribution for the intended application.

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.  

  • Material made up of a certain size of grain qualifies as sand, this categorization can include sugar and salt.

Where to Find Industrial Sand

Uses for Industrial Sand

Glass 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 CRT monitors.
Metal Casting Industrial sand is an essential part of the ferrous and non-ferrous foundry industries. Metal parts ranging from engine blocks to sink faucets are cast in a sand and clay molds to produce the external shape, and a resin bonded core that creates the desired internal shape. Following the casting process, core sand can be thermally or mechanically recycled to produce new cores or molds.
Metal Production In metal production, silica sand operates as a flux to lower the melting point and viscosity of metal slags to make them more reactive and efficient. 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. Industrial sand is the main component in chemicals such as sodium silicate, silicon tetrachloride, and silicon gels. These chemicals are used to make products ranging from household and industrial cleaners as well as fiber optics. It is also used to remove impurities from cooking oil and brewed beverages.
Building Products Industrial sand is the primary structural component in a wide variety of building and construction products. Whole grain silica is put to use in flooring compounds, mortars, specialty cements, stucco, roofing shingles, skid resistant surfaces, and asphalt mixtures to provide packing density and flexural strength without adversely affecting the chemical properties of the binding system. Ground silica performs as a functional extender to add durability and anti-corrosion and weathering properties in epoxy-based compounds, sealants, and caulks.
Paint & Coatings Micron-sized industrial sands are used in paints and coatings to improve their appearance and durability. They also contribute critical performance properties such as brightness and reflectance, color consistency, and oil absorption. In marine and maintenance coatings, the durability of silica imparts excellent abrasion and corrosion resistance.
Ceramics & Refractories Ground silica is an essential component of the glaze and body formulations of all types of ceramic products, including tableware, sanitary ware, and floor and wall tile. Silica products are also used as the primary aggregate in refractories to provide high temperature resistance in industrial furnaces.
Filtration & Water Production Industrial sand is used to filter drinking water, process wastewater, and produce water from wells. Chemically inert, silica will not degrade or react when it comes in contact with acids, contaminants, volatile organics, or solvents. Silica gravel is also used as packing material in deep-water wells to increase yield by expanding the permeable zone around the well screen and preventing contamination.
Oil & Gas Recovery Industrial sand is pumped down holes in deep well applications to open rock fissures and increase the flow rate of natural gas or oil. Silica’s hardness and its overall structural integrity combine to deliver the required crush resistance of the high pressures present in wells more than 8,000 feet deep.
Agriculture The natural grain shape and controlled particle size distribution of silica provides essential permeability and compaction properties for drainage, healthy plant growth, and stability.
Recreation Silica sand is used for golf course bunkers and greens as well as the construction of natural or synthetic athletic fields. Industrial sand is also used to repair sports turf and to facilitate everyday maintenance like root aeration and fertilization. 

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