How do I Convey Silica or Sand?
What Are Sand & Silica Used For?
Sand is a naturally-occurring granular material that is finer than gravel, but more coarse than silt. It can have differing chemical compositions depending on local mineral sources and conditions. The most common component of sand in inland and non-tropical coastal areas is silica, usually in the form of quartz; coastal sand is commonly composed primarily of calcium carbonate. Sand has countless uses, from agriculture to glass manufacturing to hydraulic fracture drilling, or fracking, where it is known as “frac sand”.
Silica, or silicon dioxide, is a chemical compound that is most commonly found in nature in quartz; it can also be produced synthetically. Roughly 95% of the world’s silica is utilized in construction applications, but it is also used to manufacture glass and fiber optics, in sand casting, in aerospace applications, and in food and pharmaceutical production.
Material Characteristics of Sand & Silica
Sand and silica have very similar physical characteristics (this is especially true of silica-heavy sand). In general, sand and silica consist of round, granular particles, and both weigh roughly 100 lbs/ft3. Neither material is particularly cohesive (sticks to itself) or adhesive (sticks to the environment), but both can be highly abrasive, which can cause accelerated component wear in many applications.
Because of their loose, granular natures, silica and sand tend to produce large amounts of dust. So much dust, in fact, that up to 3% (by weight) of these materials can be lost during normal handling and transfer. This dust is also hazardous for personnel, as inhaling it can cause incurable diseases like silicosis and cancer. And, while sand and silica are not particularly flammable, any facility with high levels of dust in the atmosphere is at risk of a combustible dust explosion.
Recommended Conveying Solution
The safest and most efficient way to convey sand and silica is via pneumatic conveying. Nol-Tec’s dense phase pneumatic conveyors use high pressure, low volume air at controlled pressures to move sand or silica down the convey line. Our proprietary Air Assist technology keeps motive energy equal from the beginning of the conveyor system to the end, no matter the layout or how much distance is covered.
Nol-Tec’s fully-enclosed pneumatic conveyors eliminate product loss and minimize airborne dust. They can be configured to fit any space and tailored to the unique needs of your application.
Contact Nol-Tec today to get started on a custom silica/sand conveyor system for your facility.