Silicon dioxide is found in powdered foods, juices, alcoholic beverages, medications in tablet form and glass products. Other products include ceramics, microchips, plastics and cement. Silicon dioxide is one of the most abundant chemical compounds on Earth; in its natural forms, quartz and sand, it comprises more than 10 percent of Earth's crust.
In food and drugs, silicon dioxide is primarily used as a desiccating agent. It absorbs water, keeping powdered foods from clumping or becoming damp. In beers, wines and juices, silicon dioxide is used as a fining agent. This means that it clarifies the liquid by binding with impurities and pulling them out of suspension. The impurities can then be filtered out of the liquid.
Silicon dioxide-based polymers are used in shoe soles, medical implants, electrical insulation and waterproof fabrics. These polymers are collectively called silicones, which are waterproof, heat-stable and resist chemical damage. In oil and grease forms, silicones are valuable industrial lubricants and hydraulic fluids due to their stability at high temperatures.
Silicon dioxide is the primary component of all forms of glass. Glass is used in windows and other household fixtures, jewelry, kitchenware, packaging and eyeglasses. Hence, silicon dioxide is found in all of these products. Most ceramics are also based on silicon dioxide, though this is not a chemical requirement. Silicon dioxide-based ceramics are used for dishes, decorative objects, kitchenware, knives and roofing tile.