silica and moulding sands association (samsa) part of the Mineral Products Association (MPA)


silica and moulding
sands association



Did you know?

Silica most commonly exists in the form of quartz – the second most common mineral on the earth’s surface. It is hard, chemically inert and has a high melting point. These are prized qualities for many industrial applications.

Silica for industry is supplied in the form of sand, which closely resembles that found on the beaches of our coastline. Silica sand is an essential raw material that contributes so much to modern society. Wherever you go, you’re always close to products made from silica sand.

Without silica sand, there would be no glass, no ceramics (tableware, sanitary ware), no houses, no hospitals, no schools, no roads, cars or trains, no computers or televisions… We could not even return to the Stone Age, because silica is abundant in rocks!

Hydraulic Fracturing: The drilling technique for natural gas also known as fracing use "frac sand". The rounded silica sand is used as a "proppant"; a material that holds the cracks open that are caused by the hydraulic fracturing process.

Silica sand is the principal component in glass making. Even though glass is recyclable, a supply of fresh silica sand is still required when making new glass from old. It was originally the early Romans who developed a method of melting silica sand to produce glass.

Silica sand is a raw material that is used in tyre production to make tyres last longer and improve their performance.

Every road traffic cone uses silica sand as ballast, to make sure that it stays in place on the road, keeping you safe in all weathers.

Silica sand is used as a raw material for road marking paints, to add abrasion resistance and improve the way that light is reflected

Train operators use silica sand to improve the traction of wheels on the rails. A small quantity of dry sand will stop the slipping of driving wheels on wet or oily tracks and can assist in starting a train under such conditions.

Roads: Mixed with rock salt, silica sand improves traction (and thus traffic safety) in icy or snowy conditions.

Silica sand is used in football pitches and golf courses. Root zone sands ensure good drainage and stability while top dressings and sports turf sands improve the quality and durability of the playing surface.

Silica sand provided the playing surface for the volleyball pitches used during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Silica sand is used as a play material in schools and children’s playgrounds – in sand pits – and may also be coloured for use in children’s sand paintings.

Sand bags, made from silica sand, protect people and their property against floods. The inexpensive bags are easy to transport when empty and unskilled volunteers can quickly fill them with local silica sand in emergencies.

Sand blasting - graded silica sand serves as an abrasive in cleaning, preparing, and polishing.

The origins of SAMSA date back 150 years. The quarry site operated by Joseph Boam in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, in the 1860s is still operated by a SAMSA member company today!

You are in: Silica > Did you know

In this section

Print PagePrintable page

Top of page I Disclaimer I Download guide I Sitemap
Enter the dedicated MPA members websiteSAMSA, 1st Floor, 297 Euston Road, London, NW1 3AD
Tel: 0203 978 3400 Email: