Silica, also known as Silicon dioxide, is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formula SiO2, most commonly found in nature as quartz and in various living organisms. In many parts of the world, silica is the major constituent of sand. Silica is one of the most complex and most abundant families of materials, existing as a compound of several minerals and as synthetic product.
- Glass: When silica is heated long enough and hot enough, even without any other external factors, it turns into glass all on its own. This property of turning itself into glass is honed and used to make different types of glass objects.
- Food: The main use is the health it renders to our bones and joints. Regular intake of silicon dioxide is helpful in maintaining the strength and density of bones, thus reducing the risk of diseases like arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Ceramics: Silica is one of the main constituents of ceramic glaze that is produced. Without silica, the other ingredients would not be able to bind themselves because silica is the one that when heated forms glass. This is what keeps the other ingredients together. However, only melted silica has no real use by itself.
- Other: Optical fibers, cement, manufacture of electronics, especially microelectronics and silica gel is used for protection against moisture and humidity.