Chemical Formula For Quartz | Composition & Applications

Two facts you should know about quartz: it is one of the most abundant minerals on the earth and it is made of the two most abundant elements on the Earth.

Quartz is a naturally beautiful mineral. It is a solid crystal made of repeating silica (silicon and oxygen) units. The crystalline structure plus its constituent elements contribute to its physical appearance. The solidness of quartz should most likely come from two solid metals, right?

However, it is a solid of silicon and oxygen neatly arranged in a 3-D crystal lattice. In this article, you will get to know what type of compound forms the repeating units of silica, how it forms, the uses of quartz, and more.

What is the chemical formula for quartz?

The chemical formula for quartz is SiO2. The chemical name of this compound is silica or silicon dioxide.

What is seen are repeating SiO2 units. However, the silicon and oxygen atoms form a silicon-oxygen tetrahedron, SiO4. The individual SiO4 units are linked together by an oxygen atom. The continuous links form the overall SiO2 formula.

This chemical formula is the same across all the different known quartz crystals. The uniqueness of each is in their colors, translucency, and optical properties due to the variations in the arrangement of the atoms in these crystals.

Is quartz a chemical element?

Quartz is a mineral, not a chemical element. It consists of elements; silicon and oxygen. Quartz also contains lithium, sodium, potassium, and titanium as impurities.

Is quartz the same as fused silica?

Quartz and fused silica share some similarities but they are not the same. Both materials are primarily composed of SiO2 units but they are produced differently and have different properties.

Quartz is a naturally occurring crystalline mineral, while fused silica is a man-made amorphous glass produced from high-purity quartz. Also, quartz is harder and has a higher resistance to high temperatures.

The process of making fused silica involves melting quartz at very high temperatures and rapidly cooling it to an amorphous quartz-like solid. However, fused silica does not have the crystal lattice structure of quartz. It also has a low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Furthermore, fused silica has better optical features. It is preferred in the manufacture of optical lenses and laser windows because of its high transparency.

Applications of quartz


Quartz is the raw material for glass production. Glass is high-purity quartz that is melted and cooled. After melting, the liquid is left to cool into any shape, as the manufacturer wishes. In countries like India, the bulk of the quartz goes into the manufacture of glassware.

Scientific instruments, such as microscopes, telescopes, and electric sensors use optical-based quartz to manufacture the glass parts of these instruments.


Quartz crystals are hard. Quartz sand in combination with finely ground silica makes excellent scouring powder. Its hardness also makes it useful for sandblasting, sanding, and sawing grit.

Making of watches

Quartz is a unique mineral. Rather than crushing under mechanical stress, it uses this pressure to produce an electrical current (the piezoelectric effect). You may wonder how this is useful to the production of watches. This feature is what helps quartz watches accurate.

Furthermore, quartz crystals contain oscillators that vibrate at certain frequencies. This feature is what brings about movement in watches and clocks.

Making jewelry and gemstones

 It has been mentioned many times that quartz is aesthetically appealing. This characteristic is one of the reasons why it is a gem to jewelers. Also, it is hard, durable, and polishable, which makes it perfect for gemstones as well.

Not every type of quartz is useful to the jeweler. Some of the excellent choices are amethyst, citrine, opal, agate, jasper, ametrine, aventurine, rose quartz, and smoky quartz.


Quartz sand finds applications in construction industries. Because of its durability and strength, it is often used in building high-rise buildings. It also finds use in the production of decorative, roofing, and floor tiles.

Electronic appliances

The use of quartz crystals in electronics like radio receivers, radio transmitters, GPS transmitters, and computers is due to its ability to retain its crystalline structure even under high temperatures.

Also, quartz crystals give accurate frequency in these electronics because of their high resistance to chemical solvents. Moreover, quartz crystals generate current on their surfaces when they bend or compress.

Petroleum industry

The petroleum industry uses the process of hydraulic fracturing to push down sand slurries (silica, water, and other chemicals) down oil and gas wells at very high pressures. The pressure breaks the bedrock and injects the sand slurry into the cracks.

The quartz sand grains keep the cracks open and create a passage for the released natural gas to flow out of the bedrock into the oil and gas wells.

Foundry industry

Quartz sand finds good application in metal casting industries. When mixed with materials, such as clay, oil, and resin sodium silicate, it forms a material used in molding and metal casting.

Moreover, quartz sand is useful in smelting other metals because of its high thermal resistance. The sand binds to impurities like oxygen, which makes it easy to remove them from metals during purification.

Kitchen tops

Commercial and some luxurious residential buildings use engineered quartz to make kitchen countertops. These quartz stones are beautiful, non-porous, and easy to clean.


As mentioned earlier, quartz can withstand high temperatures. This is the property that makes it excellent for sealing lamps and heaters.

Additionally, quartz is transparent to radiation. Instead of absorbing radiation, it uses radiation to transfer heat.

Ceramic industry

Manufacturers of ceramics use quartz sand to make ceramic tiles, plates, bathroom fixtures, etc because of the white color it gives. Quartz is aesthetically appealing, which makes it the best material for ceramic items.


Powder or ground quartz make excellent fillers because of their high durability, resistance to wear, strength, and chemical inertness. They are useful in the manufacture of putty, adhesives, rubber, and paint.

The large grains and durability of powder quartz make it find application in the recreation of children’s sandboxes, beaches, golf courses, volleyball courts, and baseball fields. Also, mining and railroad companies use powder quartz to make traction.


What is man-made quartz called?

Man-made quartz is called engineered quartz. This type of quartz is used for countertops in cafeterias, kitchens, and bathrooms. It is considered safe for use because it does not emit toxic substances.

Is glass the same as quartz?

Glass and quartz are made of the same SiO4 tetrahedra units. The difference between them is in their structure and order of arrangement of the SiO4 units.

Glass is an amorphous solid with the SiO4 units arranged in a short-range order, while quartz is a crystalline solid with the SiO4 units arranged in a long-range order. Also, unlike glass, quartz can withstand high temperatures and pressures, which makes it a good electrical conductor.

Is quartz a constituent of granite?

Yes, quartz is one of the various constituents of granite. Quartz makes up 10-50% of granite. Other mineral components of granite are mica, hornblende, potassium feldspar, and sodium feldspar.

Is quartz radioactive?

Quartz contains some radioactive elements like uranium and thorium, which decay to radon. Radon is another radioactive element that decays into other radionuclides.


Quartz is made of repeating units of silica. The chemical formula of quartz, SiO2, shows that it is a mixture of one silicon atom and two oxygen atoms. However, it may also contain other impurities like lithium, sodium, potassium, and titanium.

Quartz comes in a variety of crystalline forms, patterns, and colors. Different quartz stones have unique arrangements of atoms which gives them their alluring colors and patterns.

Some examples of quartz are amethyst, tiger’s eye, yellow quartz, ametrine, citrine, rock crystal, smoky quartz, and milk quartz.

Regardless of what the names seem to depict, all quartz is made of repeating units of SiO2.

Also, learn about how many grains are in different quantities of sand.

Thanks for reading.