About Silicates

Silicate Formula Diagram (Si-O)

Silicates are compounds containing a silicon-containing polyatomic anion. Most often, these anions feature a silicon atom in a tetrahedral arrangement such that it is surrounded by four oxygen atoms. These tetrahedra can occur singly, or joined together in various arrangements such as pairs or rings. Many compounds containing such silica oxyanions occur naturally as minerals, many of which are used in the production of ubiquitous materials such as Portland cement.

Additionally, non-oxygen-containing compounds can be considered silicates, as in the case of hexafluorosilicate—SiF62-. Hexafluorosilicates have application in the production of aluminum from ore, in water fluoridation, lead refining, organic synthesis, and the production of ceramics, concretes, and phosphors. Aluminosilicates are another important class of silicates: as the major components of many clay minerals, they have many industrial uses in the production of ceramics and building materials.