Will We Ever Run Out of Silica Sand?


June 15, 2021

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Did you know that without a steady supply of silica sand, silicon wafer manufacturers won’t be able to produce silicon chips that make our smartphones, tablets, and computers work?  Needless to say, silica sand plays a major role in our daily digital lives. Aside from air and water, this critical ingredient is the most used natural resource across the globe.

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What is Silica Sand, and How is It Obtained?

Silica is a compound made up of the two most abundant elements found in Earth’s crust: silicon and oxygen. Since the mass of our planet’s crust is composed of 59% silica, this compound is the main component of about 95% of the known rocks such as granite, sandstone, and gneiss. Silica sand is essentially quartz that has been broken down into tiny granules through the work of water and wind. Others refer to silica sand as white sand, quartz sand, or industrial sand. Although silica sand deposits are usually surface-mined in open pit operations, they can also be obtained through the process of dredging and underground mining.To increase silica content, extracted ore goes through a process that eliminates impurities. Once this is completed, the sand is dried and sized according to the target particle size distribution required for its intended application.

Are We Running Out of Silica Sand?

Nobody really thinks about the grainy stuff called silica sand. However, we use it to make the following:

  • Industrial abrasives
  • Paints and coatings
  • Filtration media
  • Sports fields and golf courses
  • Glass
  • Construction materials
  • Ceramics
  • Cosmetics
  • Breast implants
  • Computer chips
  • Electronic devices

Experts say that the more people there are, the more silica sand the world needs. However, if we ever do run out of silica sand, we definitely won’t be around to see how it happens.

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Looking for Silicon Wafer Manufacturers?

At Wafer World, we produce high-quality wafers at a reasonable price. Contact us today for inquiries.

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