What are uses for industrial sand?
Sand mined and washed in Texas is an important ingredient to modern life. While industrial sand from across the country is used in a myriad of products and processes – like construction, glassmaking, metalcasting, water filtration, recreation, paint and coating production, and ceramic, refractory, and chemical manufacturing – the majority of the industrial sand produced in Texas is used by the oil and gas industry in the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process.
Industrial sand is also known as a proppant and functions as an essential component to the recovery of oil and gas for America’s energy industry. Often referred to as “frac sand,” it is pumped down holes in deep well applications to prop open rock fissures (where the word “proppant” comes from) and increase the flow rate of natural gas or oil. In this specialized use of industrial sand, whole grain deposits are used to maximize permeability and prevent formation cuttings from entering the well bore. The sand can be pure or resin coated but the highest quality sands are clean, dust-free, and remain more permeable regardless of pressure (National Industrial Sand Association, 2019).
For a visual explanation of how industrial sand is used by the oil and gas industry, watch the following video, courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.