Glass is a versatile material used in many different applications, and its production requires the use of specialized materials like silica sand. Silica sand is important to glass manufacturing operations because it helps ensure that the finished product has the desired clarity, strength, and thermal resistance. Understanding more about this type of sand, as well as who needs it and why will help you determine whether your operation could benefit from using it for glass production.
In this article, we’ll explore what silica sand is and how it’s used in glass manufacturing operations around the world. We’ll also go through the process of how silica sand is used in glass manufacturing. Here’s everything you need to know:
Silica sand, also known as quartz sand, is composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2). It typically contains small amounts of other minerals, such as calcium carbonate and alumina, giving it unique properties. Compared to many different types of sand, silica sand has a very high melting point at around 1700°C. This makes it ideal for use in glass production since the glass must be heated to a very high temperature to melt and form into its desired shape.
Using silica sand in glass manufacturing provides several key benefits that make it preferable to other materials. First and foremost, the quartz grains that make up this type of sand are very uniform in size, which helps to ensure a consistent product with no imperfections or inconsistencies. It also contains fewer impurities than other types of sand, which helps keep the opacity and clarity of the finished product consistent. Additionally, the high melting point allows glass makers to produce strong products with increased thermal resistance compared to traditional glass production methods.
Glass made from silica sand is used in many industrial applications, including construction, automotive, electronics, and more. In particular, this type of glass is often used in the production of solar panels due to its durability and ability to tolerate heat exposure over long periods without breaking down. Factories producing window panes will often opt for silica sand-based glass due to its superior strength compared to traditional methods.
For silica sand or any material to turn into glass, it must be heated up past its melting point. As mentioned before, silica sand has a very high melting point at around 1700°C, which makes it ideal for use in glass manufacturing operations since the temperatures needed are usually much lower than this threshold. However, depending on what kind of product is being produced, different temperatures may be required for the material to turn into glass successfully.
Glass is an incredibly versatile material used in various applications, from automotive to medical equipment. But how does this miracle material come into being? The answer lies in the age-old melting process that starts with silica sand and ends with the finest glass products.
The most common silica sand source is quartzite, a type of metamorphic rock. The silica sand used in glassmaking usually comprises 98-99% silicon dioxide (SiO2). Manufacturers must strictly adhere to stringent standards when selecting and preparing their silica sand to ensure the highest quality glass can be made from raw materials.
To melt the ingredients, manufacturers typically use one of two methods, tank or crucible melting. In tank melting, sand is mixed with soda ash and calcium carbonate and heated until it reaches a molten state. This mixture then passes through an oxygen lance, which injects a stream of pure oxygen into the tank to increase its temperature beyond 3100 degrees Fahrenheit. Crucible melting involves placing pre-weighed portions of silica sand, soda ash, and calcium carbonate into a ceramic crucible and heating them together until they become liquid.
Now that the ingredients have been melted together, it’s time to shape and finish the glass. For this production stage, manufacturers typically use pressing or blowing techniques. In pressing, molten glass is compressed into molds to form desired shapes; while in blowing, air pressure is used to blow the molten glass into different shapes. Once the desired shape has been achieved, any sharp edges are ground down using diamond wheels before further finishing processes such as coating or polishing.
Glass made from sand is useful for operations like glass manufacturing, but that’s not all. Learn about other uses of silica sand today.
- High purity: Silica sand is typically composed of at least 95% silica, making it ideal for glass manufacturing because of its high purity.
- Low iron content: Silica sand has a very low iron content, which is essential for glassmaking since iron can cause discoloration in the final product.
- Consistent size and shape: Silica sand is available in various sizes and shapes, allowing glass manufacturers to create a range of products with consistent quality.
- Chemical inertness: Silica sand is chemically inert, meaning it does not react with other chemicals during the glass manufacturing process, ensuring the final product is of consistent quality.
- Low cost: Silica sand is abundant and inexpensive, making it an economical choice for glass manufacturers.
Pontotoc’s highly refined purification process eliminates pollutants and other impurities from our sand, allowing it to be ready for use as soon as it reaches your worksite. Our swift turnarounds mean you won’t have to wait long—our loading times are completed in under seven minutes.
Looking for glass made from sand? Reach out to us today for our industry-leading silica material.