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Quartz is the second most abundant mineral on Earth. It is a hard, wear-resistant and chemically stable silicate mineral. It has a variety of uses due to its favourable thermal and chemical properties. It is used in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, watches and refractory. Quartz is also found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock. It can be clear or milky white in colour, but impurities within the atomic lattice of quartz change the color of the material. Different colours of quartz are due to different amounts of varying elements such as lithium, sodium and titanium.
The crystal structure of quartz gives it piezoelectric properties, i.e. it generates an electric potential when subjected to mechanical stress. This property makes quartz an excellent material for industrial applications. It is also one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals and can withstand high temperatures. Its crystalline nature and high strength give it excellent durability, making it ideal for construction applications such as concrete, cement-based grouts, mortar mix, putties, masonry and sealants.
The fusion process of converting natural quartz into fused silicon dioxide begins with comminution to reduce the size of the raw quartz to a range suitable for the fusion method and machinery being used. The resulting material is heated at high temperature in a hydrogen/oxygen (H2/O2) flame until it is fused into a quartz particle. This fused silicon can then be ground to form a quartz powder, which is then mixed into cement for use in concrete and other building materials. The QPC had a similar XRD pattern as the RC, suggesting that the quartz powder microparticles did not act as nucleation points and interacted poorly with hydrated cement.