The Various Facets of Sodium Silicate

The compound sodium silicate has many applications. While industry folks are familiar with sand molded metal castings, artists prefer to use it to deflocculate clay slip and create antique finishes on ceramics.

Sodium silicate is a simple inorganic sodium salt that is also called water glass. It comes in a flaked solid or powdered form which is dissolved in water to make an alkaline solution.

This silicate lends itself well to a host of uses that are quite varied in nature. Consider this – sodium silicate is equally effective in both treatment of waste water and preservation of foods. It is used in paper and detergents as well.

The same formula can also be used to reduce porosity in concrete, stucco and plaster. Applying a thin coat on masonry surfaces after they have cured will seal the surface, thus minimizing water penetration. In fact, sodium silicate displays excellent physical and chemical properties that are useful in bonding and coating applications. It will dry to form a tough, tightly adhering inorganic bond for metals, ceramics, glass, etc.

Apart from this, sodium silicate works as a deflocculant for clay slips and can also render an instant antique finish on ceramic surfaces.

But the most common and useful application is in metal or foundry mold making applications. A blend of sand and sodium silicate is used to make the mold. the mixture is packed into a core box of the desired shape and wires or rods are inserted as required for support. This is exposed to carbondioxide gas from a low pressure source or esters which induces a chemical reaction that will solidify the core. Once it has solidified, it is ready for use.

These molds are used in the iron, steel and cast iron industry. Molten metal is poured in the sand molds to make the casts.

Where to buy?

EnvironMolds is a veritable powerhouse supplier in the world of arts and crafts. The website is packed with a broad range of materials, supplies, tools and equipment for making molds, casts and life casts. All products are from leading brands with top quality, reasonable prices and environment safety being the differentiating factor across the board.

The repository includes sodium silicate from the inhouse brand of Artmolds. This inorganic multipurpose additive is formulated in aqueous form and can be used for different purposes. It is low cost, odorless, non-toxic, moisture-resistant and non-flammable too. As it is made from sand and alkali, it proves to be ecologically harmless in fresh water environments too.

However, it can irritate or burn the skin and eyes on contact. Observe safety precautions like wearing splash-proof goggles, rubber gloves and coveralls.

The company further advises that the product should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area, removed from oxidizing agents, acids, active metals, heat or ignition sources and foodstuffs. It should be protected from physical damage and sealed properly when not in use. If properly stored, unopened containers can be good indefinitely.

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