Sodium silicate is a sand-like chemical compound that is formed by combining silicon dioxide, or sand, and sodium carbonate, or soda ash, which create sodium silicate in a chemical reaction. Sodium silicate also goes by the names silicic acid sodium salt, soluble glass, liquid glass or water glass.
In the food preparation and agriculture industries, sodium silicate is used for many different purposes, including washing eggs, peeling fruits and vegetables and refining vegetable oils. Silica gel packets, which are just packages of sodium silicate, are found in everyday products like vitamin pills or beef jerky as a moisture absorbing agent, which preserves these items.
Sodium silicate is a stabilising agent for ink and textile and pulp bleaching peroxide. In soil, sodium silicate is an added stabiliser that increases the load-bearing capacity as well as controls the flow of water through porous soil.
Sodium silicate is used as a treatment for various materials in a number of different industries. In the construction industry, it is used as a concrete hardening agent as well as an acid-proofing agent. Sodium silicate is also added to detergents, bleaches and soaps to act as an emulsifier, removing and suspending dirt.