What Is Fused Quartz?

  • Friday, 10 March 2023
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What Is Fused Quartz?

Fused quartz is a glassy form of silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is an abundant mineral found throughout the Earth.fused quartz It is used to make a range of high-tech products, including watches and radios. It is also used as a refractory material, which is often used in high-temperature furnaces and steelmaking.

Its chemical properties, including its low thermal expansion coefficient and extremely high optical transmittance in the UV, make it a useful material for applications where space constraints or temperature control are limiting.fused quartz It is also an ideal material for a variety of optical applications, such as in UV windows and lenses, laser machining, IR-optics, and sterilisation.

In its raw, crystalline state, silica is one of the most common minerals found in nature and is also widely available commercially.fused quartz It can be purchased as a solid block or cut into shapes and pieces. It is known to have a piezoelectric effect which can be exploited for generating electricity. It is a non-toxic, non-flammable and refractory material that is resistant to many acids, with the exception of hydrofluoric acid.

When made as a fused glass, the process involves melting natural quartz crystals at temperatures around 2000degC in either an electrically heated or flame-fuelled furnace.fused quartz This results in an item that can be transparent or opaque, depending on the manufacturing process and the purity of the quartz.

The resulting glass can then be purified to various levels, with different purity grades being available. These include Type I (a vacuum-processed material), Type II (a high-temperature fusion process) and Type III, which is produced by burning a gaseous silicon-chloride precursor in a hydrogen-oxygen flame.

Both types of fused silica are essentially pure silicon dioxide, however there can be a range of trace impurities created by the manufacturing processes. These can have a significant impact on the physical and optical properties of the final product.

A number of synthetic processes can be used to produce fused silica, but the most common uses for this material are in laser machining and IR optics. In these applications, the hydroxyl content, or water content, needs to be below 10 ppm to avoid the presence of strong infrared absorption bands related to OH.

Synthetic fused silica is also used in the manufacture of a wide range of optical fibers and fiber composites. These are often used in space technology where high-purity materials are required. In particular, they are frequently used in the fabrication of space-qualified polarization-modulated (PM) waveguides where thermal poling can be applied to create a high-efficiency QPM structure.

Another popular application for fused silica is the manufacture of refractory shapes such as crucibles and trays, which are typically shaped from large blocks of this amorphous glass. Refractory shapes are used to protect high-temperature and chemically aggressive industrial furnaces, and they can be formed into a range of sizes and shapes.

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