Silica, commonly known as Silicon Dioxide, are found naturally in the form of quartz. It is one of the most complex and abundant families of materials and is also a major constituent of sand across the globe. Its application ranges across several categories, from structural materials to ingredients used in food industry.
Production of Silica begins with the acidification of an alkaline silicate solution with a bench acid such as H2SO4. Both substances are added simultaneously with agitation to water where precipitation is done under alkaline conditions.
Na2(SiO2)7 + H2SO4 + O → 7SiO2 + Na2SO4 + H2O
Na2SiO3 + H2SO4 → SiO2 + Na2SO4 + H2O
By adjusting several factors such as the degree of agitation, the addition rate of reactants and concentration, the properties of synthetic silica produced can vary. Synthetic Silica, in the form of a white precipitate, is subsequently obtained after it is filtered, washed and dried.
Cosmetic Industry: Used as a polishing, thickening and cleaning agent used in toothpaste, skin creams, deodorants and facial scrubs.
Detergent Industry: Production of detergents and dish-washing powders due to its emulsifying properties.
Food & Pharmaceutical Industry: Used as thickening, anti-caking agents to convert liquid into powdered, vice versa.
Other Applications: Production of glass for windows, drinking glasses and bottles. Also used in production for optical fibers that are predominantly being used in telecommunications today.