Silica Sand Supply
Leonardite was named after A. G. Leonard, first director of the North Dakota Geological Survey, in recognition of his valuable work on these deposits. Leonardite is a soft, dark-coloured, vitreous mineraloid that contains high concentrations of active humic acid (>65%) and fulvic acid (≈4%). Leonardite is an oxidation product of lignite coal and mined from near-surface pits.
The commercial applications of leonardite are driven by the utilization of the humic acid and fulvic acid constituents. Significant market applications of leonardite are in the oil well drilling industry, agricultural applications as plant growth aid and soil conditioner, and clay dispersant in the metal casting industry. Additional speciality applications include remediation of soil contamination and water treatment.
Silica Sand is quartz that over time, through the work of water and wind, has been broken down into tiny granules.
Commercial Silica Sand is widely used as a proppant by companies involved in oil and natural gas recovery in conventional and unconventional resource plays. The resource is also used in industrial processing to make everyday items such as glass, construction materials, personal care products, electronics, and even renewable materials.
Industrial sand is a term normally applied to high purity silica sand products with closely controlled sizing. It is a more precise product than common concrete and asphalt gravels.
Quartz Rock image
Silica (SiO2) is the name given to a group of minerals composed solely of silicon and oxygen. Found most commonly in the crystalline state, it also occurs in an amorphous form resulting from weathering or plankton fossilization.
Silica sand deposits are most commonly surface-mined in open pit operations, but dredging and underground mining are also employed. Extracted ore undergoes considerable processing to increase the silica content by reducing impurities. It is then dried and sized to produce the optimum particle size distribution for the intended application.
For industrial and manufacturing applications, deposits of silica yielding products of at least 95% SiO2 are preferred. Silica is hard and chemically inert and has a high melting point, attributable to the strength of the bonds between the atoms. These are prized qualities in applications like foundries and filtration systems. Industrial sand’s strength, silicon dioxide (SiO2) contribution, and non-reactive properties make it an indispensable ingredient in the production of thousands of everyday products.
Silica sand used in all types of speciality glass
Glassmaking: Silica sand is the primary component of all types of standard and speciality glass. It provides the essential SiO2 component of glass formulation, and its chemical purity is the primary determinant of colour, clarity, and strength. Industrial sand is used to produce flat glass for building and automotive use, container glass for foods and beverages, and tableware. In its pulverized form, ground silica is required for the production of fibreglass insulation and reinforcing glass fibres. Speciality glass applications include test tubes and other scientific tools, incandescent and fluorescent lamps, and television and computer CRT monitors.
Metal Casting: Industrial sand is an essential part of the ferrous and non-ferrous foundry industry. Metal parts ranging from engine blocks to sink faucets are cast in a sand and clay mould to produce the external shape, with a resin bonded core creating the desired internal shape. Silica’s high fusion point (1760°C) and low rate of thermal expansion produce stable cores and moulds compatible with all pouring temperatures and alloy systems. Its chemical purity also helps prevent interaction with catalysts or the curing rate of chemical binders. Following the casting process, core sand can be thermally or mechanically recycled to produce new cores or moulds.
Metal Production: Industrial sand plays a critical role in the production of a wide variety of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. In metal production, silica sand operates as a flux to lower the melting point and viscosity of the slags to make them more reactive and efficient. Lump silica is used either alone or in conjunction with lime to achieve the desired base/acid ratio required for purification. These base metals can be further refined and modified with other ingredients to achieve specific properties such as high strength, corrosion resistance, or electrical conductivity. Ferroalloys are essential to speciality steel production, and industrial sand is used by the steel and foundry industries for de-oxidation and grain refinement.