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Silicon Dioxide

Silicon Dioxide

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Silicon Dioxide is one of the most abundant minerals known to man. It has a chemical formula of SiO2 and is alternatively referred to as silica. History can not place the exact time of discovery of this mineral. It has been in use for centuries which suggests that it was discovered far before civilization.

Silicon dioxide or silica has intriguing physical characteristics. Silica is clear in its natural form, appearing transparent to the human eye, soluble in water and a hard substance. Silica occurs freely in nature but can be produced manually in the laboratory. There are many ways to manufacture silica in the laboratory, it is manufactured by exposing silicon to oxygen, it is also gotten from the oxidation of silane and also decomposition of tetraethylorthosilicate.

The most fascinating fact about silicon dioxide is the diversity in usage. Silicon dioxide is applied in many aspects of life. Silicon dioxide also known as quartz is synthesized to produce ceramics and porcelain, due to its hard nature it is often used to produce solid materials like kitchen worktops and cements. It is also used extensively in the production of glass and bottles. Silicon dioxide is widely used in the food and beverage industry as an additive for powdered food and within science to attract DNA from samples.

Other uses include, use in manufacturing of toothpaste as it acts as the agent used to remove plaques, it is used in cosmetics production due to its natural absorbency properties. Silicon dioxide is for all its properties, and attribute is a priceless mineral, but it can be dangerous to humans as cases of cancer of the lungs have been recorded for many people exposed to fumes of silica.

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