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Here in West Texas, frac sand is everywhere; it's common to see a few bushels dumped on the side of the road, where some idiot trucker decided to clean out the bottom lines on their trailer.  Most of the sand arrives already mixed with additives, but some vendors have clean sand available - washed, dried and in bulk.  Fairmount Santrol has a location here in town, (I actually worked there years ago, when it was a different company) and I thought their "BEST SAND SILICA SAND" would be a good fit for an iAVs sand bed.

 

FM-0557_BestSand_SilicaSand_Sheet.pdf

 

Frac sand was mentioned in the Ravnis Sand Bed post a while back, and Gary Donaldson suggested that the rounded grains might work well at a smaller particle size since it is so precisely graded.  I had been looking at the 1020 and 1220 as candidates for this "sub-angular" sand, but now I'm wondering if a finer grade would be better suited to this application.  Any Recommendations?

Edited by MT Mind (see edit history)

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People are no doubt tired or hearing this (and/or not believing) but the "bucket test" is coming ... soon. I swear (like a pirate).
So, "Patience, Grasshopper(s)"  (Now available.....HERE!)

Until demonstrated to be incorrect I will continue to maintain/suggest that 'sharp', crystalline particles are 'better' than round/smooth grains. Too complicated to explain why (without spending a half-hour to present my reasoning). OTOH, if round is what you have to work with then its more than likely that's what going to happen. With roundish grains, the more uniform the particles sizes are the better and I'd also recommend slightly larger (not smaller) mean grain diameters than those we've suggested for crushed/'sharp' sand. This won't significantly effect total SSA.

http://iavs.info/commercial/sand-selection-guide/

http://iavs.info/commercial/sand-vs-gravel-etc-as-a-biofilter-media/


ALWAYS always always ... TEST your sand yourself. Don't take anyones word for anything (without evidence)

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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The sand {river sand) I used at projects A, B, and D looks almost the same silica sand except a mild color difference (maybe because of some organic matter).  

 

The pH of mentioned best sand silica sand is shown at 7.0 and the ones I have is 7.4. 

 

I could not find a lab in India yet to make a detailed test and analysis of sand and to ascertain how much percentage is quartz (SiO2), granite or volcanic rocks, calcareous sandstone, limestone, etc.  

 

This is is a repeated question I posted at the site long back.. How do we do an elemental/particulate matter analysis of source sand?  I am curious to know how you did it?

Edited by vkn (see edit history)

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Hi VKN,

 

This is is a repeated question I posted at the site long back.. How do we do an elemental/particulate matter analysis of source sand?  I am curious to know how you did it?

 

And this is a repeated answer.  Mark did not undertake a elemental analysis of the sand he used.  He did not need to.  He was able to source virgin sand from a quarry.   A full elemental analysis could only be carried out by a materials testing laboratory or a university equipped with an atomic absorption spectrometer.

 

Such tests would probably be overkill for backyard purposes but it would be highly recommended for a commercial project - and particularly one in a place with the geological vagaries of India.

 

The pH of mentioned best sand silica sand is shown at 7.0 and the ones I have is 7.4. 

 

This is something else that we've covered several times.  Sand has no pH......only water has pH.   It's the impact of elements or compounds on the pH of water that comes in contact with the sand.

 

Silica sand does not have a pH of 7.0.  It will evidence the same pH as the water that comes in contact with it......period!  That means that, if water has a pH of 6.0 (and the sand is pure silicon dioxide) the pH reading will be 6.0.  Similarly, if the water is 8.0, then the pH test will read 8.0.  If the pH of the water changes after contact with the and  (regardless of its initial pH), it is not inert......it has something in it.

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Let me put it this way.  PLEASE refer/read to the Best Sand Silica Sand PDF Mark attached a couple of hours before..

 

Here is an excerpt for your easy reference that talks about typical physical and chemical properties of washed and dried of Frac sand. 

 

[post-4243-0-79349800-1460684971_thumb.jp

 

Also reread what Mark has to say.. "ALWAYS always always ... TEST your sand yourself. Don't take anyone's word for anything (without evidence)."

 

And to my two questions..

1. How do we do an elemental/particulate matter analysis of source sand?  Can we do it ourselves?  

2. I am curious to know how you (Dr. McMurtry) did the tests?

Edited by vkn (see edit history)

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And to my two questions..

1. How do we do an elemental/particulate matter analysis of source sand?  Can we do it ourselves?  

2. I am curious to know how you (Dr. McMurtry) did the tests?

asked and answered - repeatedly

1. a) atomic absorption spectrometry. b) No

2. I didn't (for the umpteenth time). Because I knew exactly what I had and I had NO problem whatsoever that needed to be identified. You claim that you do have a problem (probably more than you are prepared to accept.) We are trying to help you. Apparently you refuse the answer(s), or just want to argue, and 'god' knows why. I certainly don't.

Look ...

Silicon (an element) is abbreviated as "Si"

Oxygen (an element) is abbreviated as "O"

Quartz, including in the grain sizes referred to as silica sand, (and also some other related minerals) is SiO2 (a molecule) = period - and nothing else.

This means that its composed of (defined as) one Si atom molecularly (ionically) bound to two Oxygen atoms (in a crystalline matrix) - and nothing else (note, there is NO H+ anywhere in SiO2)

SiO2 is chemically inert - full stop. It does NOT react with H2O - at all. Many other 'things' certainly can/do and if/when provided the opportunity to interact other molecules may/will react (thereby effect pH of a solution/water that comes into contact with the 'other' compound') 'Other' is NOT SiO2.. Other is other.

.

It is these unknown 'other' 'things' - which you do not yet know what they are in your river sourced media - that is obviously affecting your (water) pH. and BTW. I've repeatedly said to not use river sand - Feel free (since you do) to ignore our well-intended advice at your own cost. I've also tried to suggest how you might yet overcome your high-pH readings (which further presumes that your test equipment/methods are close to accurate), but you've repeatedly indicated that you refuse that council on this matter as well.

NOTE: there is no Hydrogen anywhere in the SiO2 molecule. Therefore H+ cannot be measured (in this mineral aka molecule) It (H) is NOT there to be measured - at all - full stop - period - end of story. This is not a debate, this is by definition.

pH is the negative log (scale) of the Hydrogen ion concentration in an aqueous solution (aka water)

It is a measure of the H+ availability (and therefore of chemical reactivity) in a solution

Again, there is NO Hydrogen atom(s) in SiO2 - full stop. and FYI so-called soil pH is the pH value of the WATER in said soil - not of the minerals (non-water)fraction - just the water (plus solutes in solution with said water).

Therefore you (nor no one else on the planet) can measure something that isn't there. Fact.

Any one or any document that claims that one can do so is either lying or an idiot (likely both).

I can't find a way to make this any more clear - and will not attempt to do so again,

Either believe it or not. Not my call.

And, Please stop 'dumping on' (being combative/snarky with) Gary. Continuing to do so will not serve your aspirations well. We talk (Skype) every day, including today while your (nonsensical) questions above first appeared. We specifically discussed how we could potentially respond to you in a way that you might finally understand (since you obviously do not). You were provided our (mine and his) response. Don't like it? Not my problem.

I am SO very frustrated by your continuing absolute refusal to believe me/him and I cannot comprehend why you insist on being combative on the pH and sand issues (ntm any other matters that I'm as yet not yet aware of). I cannot teach you even basic chemistry via email or a forum even if both of us wanted to (I don't). Either believe the responses that I/we provide - which I assure you are sincere and very much intended to be to your direct benefit - or not. Not my choice.

I will not argue these points further and I do not at all enjoy how this unnecessary 'flap' has unfolded nor how it's proceeding.

If you refuse, then ... you refuse. Not my choice to make.

Edited by Mark McMurtry (see edit history)

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Found this little gem - http://www.the-compost-gardener.com/soil-ph.html

 

Just as the vinegar test for alkaline soil, let us adopt baking powder test for acidic soil.  There is a video to do a simple soil pH test, etc.  I was reading sand wherever soil is mentioned.. 

 

Thank you for patiently listening.. I am yet to locate/source a pH-neutral sand.  Since this is a sand-only topic, I am just trying to understand more from the horse's mouth!

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Also reread what Mark has to say.. "ALWAYS always always ... TEST your sand yourself. Don't take anyone's word for anything (without evidence)."

 

 

That advice assumes that you are talking to a vendor of sand......and that the person doing the testing/buying knows what they are doing.

 

If the person buying the sand does not know what they are doing.....or the risk profile of the project suggests the need......then they should pursue the full elemental analysis.

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I believe part of the problem is that the "proper" sand is silicon dioxide. It is inert and will not affect pH of your system water one way or another.  If your sample affects pH it has something in it besides silicon dioxide contaminating it.   It is these contaminants that change the pH, not the sand.    Soil is not sand, but is a mixture of inert particles and organic matter.    The contaminates could be benign calcium carbonate or something else. 

 

That the pH of the sand you are using is rising is an indication of something in your particular material that is not inert sand.

 

BTW this is not different than what Gary and Dr. McMurtry said it's just phrased differently.

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

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Oy vey!  :unsure:

 

There's obviously a lot of history here, which doesn't interest me in the least.  I will say that in my experience, reasonable people don't wear mustaches, so I usually just walk away.

 

Thank you, Dr. McMurtry, for your advice.  I will definitely do the testing myself, and have already requested pricing and samples.  I don't generally trust anyone to get anything right on their own anymore; I live in a town where I once ordered a cheeseburger and received a shrimp cocktail instead, and the waiter argued with me that I had ordered the shrimp cocktail!  I've been to all the places here in town where the average contractor would buy sand in bulk, and I have heard "Sand is sand" more than once.  The concrete companies either don't want to talk unless you're buying concrete, or just use whatever sand they get.  I suppose that's why any building over two stories gets built by companies from way out of town.  The geology here doesn't provide for local crushed quartz or granite, since everything is caliche or limestone.

 

I'm expecting a bit of a price premium for the "Best Sand" but at least it claims to have been graded and washed, so that's a start.  I should clarify that the sand I'm considering is not actually specified as frac sand.  It's a 99.5% silica sand offered by a company that also produces frac sand, and may not even be locally available.  They have a location here in town, but they only do frac sand business from that location, as far as I know.  This "Best Sand" is marked as sub-angular, so I'm hoping it's actually much sharper than what real frac sand would be.  I apologize for the error; I was apparently confused when I posted this morning.  :wacko:

 

Also, I'm happy to see the bucket tests are indeed available.  Thanks guys!  Now I can open my business testing sand for iAVs systems - have buckets, will travel.  :D

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