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How to refine quartz sand into silicon?

2023-05-12 Xinhai (250)

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Quartz sand, also known as silicon dioxide or silica sand, is a raw material used to produce silicon. The refining process of quartz sand into silicon involves several stages of high-temperature heating, chemical reactions, and purifications.

The first step in refining quartz sand into silicon involves crushing the quartz rock and then purifying it with a process known as froth flotation. This process involves the use of chemicals to separate the impurities from the quartz sand, leaving behind only the purest silica.

The next step is to heat the purified quartz sand in a furnace to a temperature of about 2000°C. At this temperature, the sand reacts with carbon to produce silicon carbide. This reaction is represented by the chemical equation:

SiO2 + 3C → SiC + 2CO

The silicon carbide is then mixed with additional quartz sand and heated to an even higher temperature, around 2500°C, in an electric arc furnace. This temperature is sufficient to reduce the silicon carbide, liberating the pure silicon.

The reaction that occurs is:

SiC + 2SiO2 → 3Si + 2CO

The silicon is then collected in a crucible and refined further to remove any remaining impurities. This is achieved through a process known as zone refining, in which a small portion of the silicon is melted and then slowly solidified, allowing the impurities to be concentrated in the molten zone. This process is repeated several times, resulting in a higher purity silicon.

Finally, the pure silicon is cast into ingots or other forms, ready for use in a variety of industries. The refining process of quartz sand into silicon is complex and requires specialized equipment and expertise.

In summary, the refining process of quartz sand into silicon involves several stages of purification, high-temperature reactions, and further purifications. This process is critical to the production of high-quality silicon, which is used in a range of industries including electronics, solar power, and semiconductors.


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