Quartz is a chemical compound consisting of one part silicon and two parts oxygen. Earth’s surface, and its unique properties make it one of the most useful natural substances. This specimen shows the conchoidal fracture (fracture that produces curved surfaces) that is characteristic of the mineral. It is abundant in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.
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It breaks consistently with a conchoidal fracture and was one of the first materials used to make tools by early people.
It has electrical properties and heat resistance that make it valuable in electronic products.
It is often cut and polished for use as an ornamental stone.
Quartz sand is also used as a flux in the smelting of metals.
This quartz infills the cavities within the wood and often replaces the woody tissues.
The durable sand grains hold the fractures open after the pressure is released.
Screened and washed, carefully sized quartz grains are used as filter media and roofing granules.
These sands are also used in recreation on golf courses, volleyball courts, baseball fields, children’s sand boxes and beaches.
Today, most of the quartz crystals used in electronic components and optical instruments are grown in laboratories instead of produced from mines.
The synthetic crystals are grown at high temperatures from superheated waters that are rich in dissolved silica.
The cost of growing synthetic quartz crystals is competitive with mining, and the only limit on production is the availability of crystal growth equipment.
It is hard, durable, and usually accepts a brilliant polish.
Agate and jasper are also varieties of quartz with a microcrystalline structure.
This durability makes it the dominant mineral of mountaintops and the primary constituent of beach, river, and desert sand.
It is presently used as the cutting edge in some of the finest surgical tools.
Its luster, color, and diaphaneity make it useful as a gemstone and also in the making of glass.
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These deposits have been identified and produced as sources of high purity silica sand.
Quartz sand is used in the production of container glass, flat plate glass, specialty glass, and fiberglass.
These jasper beads are an example of quartz used as a gemstone.
Much of it has been used for container glass, but some of it has been selected for use in making lenses for the largest telescopes.
Quartz sands and finely ground silica sand are used for sand blasting, scouring cleansers, grinding media, and grit for sanding and sawing.
Refractory bricks are often made of quartz sand because of its high heat resistance.
In the petroleum industry, sand slurries are forced down oil and gas wells under very high pressures in a process known as hydraulic fracturing.
These open fractures facilitate the flow of natural gas into the well bore.
It occurs as nodules and concretionary masses and less frequently as a layered deposit.
Quartz sands are used for traction in the railroad and mining industries.
A wide variety of uses have also been developed for optical-grade quartz crystals.
The material of beach sand is now the material of the world’s most advanced electronic devices.
Most of the laboratories grow their crystals using methods based upon the geological process of hydrothermal activity.
These manufactured crystals can be grown in shapes, sizes and colors that match the needs of manufacturing processes.
As quartz, it has a hardness of 7 (harder than steel) and is used as a “whetstone” for sharpening knives.