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silicon dioxide,

chemical compound, SiO2. It is insoluble in water, slightly soluble in alkalies, and soluble in dilute hydrofluoric acid. Pure silica is colorless to white. It occurs in several forms and is widely and abundantly distributed throughout the earth, both in the pure state and in silicatessilicate,
chemical compound containing silicon, oxygen, and one or more metals, e.g., aluminum, barium, beryllium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, or zirconium. Silicates may be considered chemically as salts of the various silicic acids.
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, e.g., in quartz (agate, amethyst, chalcedony, flint, jasper, onyx, and rock crystal), opal, sand, sandstone, clay, granite, and many other rocks; in skeletal parts of various protists and animals, such as certain sarcodines (see SarcodinaSarcodina,
the largest phylum (11,500 living species and 33,000 fossil species) of protozoans). It comprises the amebas and related organisms; which are all solitary cells that move and capture food by means of pseudopods, flowing temporary extensions of the cell.
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), diatomsdiatom
, unicellular organism of the kingdom Protista, characterized by a silica shell of often intricate and beautiful sculpturing. Most diatoms exist singly, although some join to form colonies.
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, and spongessponge,
common name for members of the aquatic animal phylum Porifera, and for the dried, processed skeletons of certain species used to hold water. Over 4,500 living species are known; they are found throughout the world, especially in shallow temperate waters.
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, and in the stems and other tissue of higher plants. Silica has many important uses. It is used as a filler for paint and rubber; in making ordinary glassglass,
hard substance, usually brittle and transparent, composed chiefly of silicates and an alkali fused at high temperature. Composition and Properties of Glass
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; in ceramics; in construction; and in the preparation of other substances, e.g., silicon carbidesilicon carbide,
chemical compound, SiC, that forms extremely hard, dark, iridescent crystals that are insoluble in water and other common solvents. Widely used as an abrasive, it is marketed under such familiar trade names as Carborundum and Crystolon.
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. Fused quartz is pure amorphous silica; it is used in special chemical and optical apparatus. Because it has a low thermal coefficient of expansion, it withstands sudden changes in temperature and can be used in parts that are subjected to wide ranges of heat and cold. Unlike ordinary glass, it does not absorb infrared and ultraviolet light.



(silicon dioxide), SiO2, a compound of silicon and oxygen. In the form of the mineral quartz and other varieties, silica constitutes about 12 percent of the mass of the earth’s crust. It is widely used in the silicate industry, particularly in the production of glass (quartz glass and other types of glass), ceramics, abrasives, concrete structures, and silicate brick. Radio technology and ultrasonic devices are important areas of application of quartz crystals. (For a more detailed discussion of silica, seeQUARTZ.)


SiO2 Naturally occurring silicon dioxide; occurs in five crystalline polymorphs (quartz, tridymite, cristobalite, coesite, and stishovite), in cryptocrystalline form (as chalcedony), in amorphous and hydrated forms (as opal), and combined in silicates.

silica, silicon dioxide

A white or colorless substance, nearly insoluble in water and in all acids except hydrofluoric; extremely hard; fuses to a colorless amorphous glass.


the dioxide of silicon, occurring naturally as quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite. It is a refractory insoluble material used in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, and abrasives

silica gel

An absorbent form of silicon dioxide often wrapped in small packets that is shipped with equipment to absorb moisture. Silica gel packets are desiccants.

Don't Throw Them Away
Silica gel packets can be used to remove odors in a gym bag. Stored in a box of photos, they can prevent them from sticking to each other, and they can extend the life of razors by eliminating moisture. A wet phone can be dried out if placed in a jar filled with the gel bags. See silicon dioxide.

Silica Gel Packets
These commonly found desiccants are small beads of silica gel inside paper packets.

silicon dioxide

(SiO2) A hard, glassy mineral found in materials such as rock, quartz, sand and opal. In metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) chip fabrication, silicon dioxide is used to create the insulation layer between the metal gates of the top layer and the silicon elements below. See silica gel.