Silicon Metal and Ferrosilicon Production
Silicon metal and ferrosilicon production – Silicon (Si) is produced from quartz (SiO2) through an apparently very simple chemical reaction of reduction:
Quartz + Carbon à Silicon + Carbon Dioxide
SiO2 + C à Si + CO2
This reaction requires the massive use of electricity, which gives to the transformation process its name of electrometallurgy. Quartz and the carbon reducing agents (wood, coal, coke, charcoal, electrodes) are put in an oven heated at a very high temperature (> 2000°C) thanks to an electric arc created through the electrodes. The metal is then cast, cooled and adapted according to the refining, granulometric and packaging specifications required by the customer.
In our daily lives, Silicon is the raw material for the following applications: Silicones and silanes used for their waterproofness, for glues and mastics’ adhesion, for their insulating properties and for moulds’ production. Iron and steel metallurgy: silicon is used to produce special up-market steels. High-performance concrete: reinforcing concrete’s mechanical characteristics (e.g. resistance to compression).