In this post we’re going to answer three common questions about silica sand:
- What is silica sand?
- How is silica sand different from regular sand?
- What is silica sand used for?
If you want to jump right into what silica sand is used for, here are seven of the most common uses for silica sand in 2019:
- Golf courses & sports fields
- Industrial abrasives
- Filtration media
- Paints & coatings
- Construction materials
Let’s get started!
What Is Silica Sand?
Silica sand, also known as quartz sand, white sand, or industrial sand, is made up of two main elements: silica and oxygen. Specifically, silica sand is made up of silicon dioxide (SiO2).
The most common form of SiO2 is quartz – a chemically inert and relatively hard mineral. SiO2 grades at a 7 out of 10 on Mohs hardness scale, making it ideal for use as filtration media and abrasive blasting sands.
Although quartz is often white or colourless, it can come in a wide range of shades. The colour of each sand deposit depends largely on the variety of minerals and rock detritus that make up the resource.
In order to be considered a silica sand the material must contain at least 95% SiO2 and less than 0.6% iron oxide. If the sand does not meet this criteria, it will qualify as what’s often called ‘regular’ sand.
How Silica Sand Is Different From Regular Sand
Regular sand, also known as feldspathic sand, brown sand, or construction sand, will always contain some silica, but only in amounts less than 95%. For example, typical brown sand used for concrete applications can contain up to 80% SiO2, along with varying amounts of iron, carbonate, potassium, and other trace elements/minerals.
These ‘impurities’ make regular sand more chemically reactive and often darker in colour when compared to silica sand. The color for non-silica sands (regular sands) can be various shades white, pink, green, and black as well – depending on the geological makeup and geographic location of the sand deposit.