What Is Silica Sand & How Is It Different From Regular Sand?

Release time: May. 31, 2024

What Is Silica Sand?


Silica sand, also known as quartz sand, white sand, or industrial sand, consists primarily of two elements: silica and oxygen. Specifically, silica sand is composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2).


The predominant form of SiO2 in silica sand is quartz—a chemically inert and relatively hard mineral. With a rating of 7 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, quartz is well-suited for applications such as filtration media and abrasive blasting sands.


While quartz is typically colorless or white, it can exhibit a wide range of hues. The coloration of each sand deposit is influenced by the presence of various minerals and rock detritus within the resource.


To be classified as silica sand, the material must contain at least 95% SiO2 and less than 0.6% iron oxide. Sands that do not meet these criteria are often referred to as "regular" sand.


Differences Between Silica Sand and Regular Sand


Regular sand, also known as feldspathic sand, brown sand, or construction sand, typically contains silica, but in concentrations lower than 95%. For instance, typical brown sand used in concrete applications may contain up to 80% SiO2, along with varying amounts of iron, carbonate, potassium, and other trace elements/minerals.


These additional components make regular sand more chemically reactive and often result in a darker coloration compared to silica sand. The hues of non-silica sands (regular sands) can vary widely, including shades of white, pink, green, and black, depending on the geological composition and geographic location of the sand deposit.


Silica sand

Applications of Silica Sand


Silica sand finds numerous applications across industrial and commercial sectors, ranging from golf courses to glassmaking. It serves as both a commercial and consumer product, widely accessible throughout North America.


The utilization of silica sand is dictated by its physical, chemical, and mechanical attributes, including grain size, shape, color, structure, distribution, refractoriness, strength, and stability. These characteristics vary based on the processing methods employed after mining.


1. Golf Courses & Sports Fields:

Silica sand is integral to bunkers, greens, and sports fields, offering drainage support and natural plant growth. Its use ensures sturdy turf fields and aids in maintaining greens and fairways.


2. Industrial Abrasives: 

Commonly employed as a mineral abrasive in industrial blasting, silica sand facilitates efficient surface preparation. Dust control measures, including personal protective equipment and dust-coating solutions, mitigate potential health hazards.


3. Water Filtration: 

Widely utilized in water filtration systems, silica sand's uniform shape and size enable effective removal of contaminants. Its resistance to acidic chemicals ensures enduring filtration performance.


4. Glassmaking: 

Silica sand serves as a fundamental component in glass production, determining the color, strength, and clarity of the final product. Its purity is crucial for achieving desired glass properties, from windows to beverage bottles.


5. Paints & Coatings: 

In paints and coatings, silica sand enhances tint reduction, dirt resistance, and durability. Its oil-absorption properties contribute to a robust coating, rich in pigment and resilient against wear and tear.


6. Ceramics & Refractories: 

Silica plays a vital role in ceramic construction, glazing, and reinforcement, ensuring proper drying, structural integrity, and durability. It regulates expansion and shrinkage, improving the overall quality of ceramic products.


7. Construction Materials: 

As a key component in various construction products, silica sand enhances the durability and structural integrity of flooring, mortars, cement, roofing materials, and sealants. Its weather-resistant properties make it ideal for use in diverse construction applications.


Silica sand, with its multifaceted properties, remains indispensable across a spectrum of industrial and commercial endeavors, underscoring its significance in diverse sectors.


Silica sand has a range of uses in everyday life across multiple industries.


If you want to learn more, or if you’re interested in ordering silica sand, get in touch with CHIDA today to request a quote.

Silica sand