Silica fume is a byproduct of producing silicon metal or ferrosilicon alloys. One of the most beneficial uses for silica fume is in concrete. Because of its chemical and physical properties, it is a very reactive pozzolan. Concrete containing silica fume can have very high strength and can be very durable. Silica fume is available from suppliers of concrete admixtures and, when specified, is simply added during concrete production. Placing, finishing, and curing silica-fume concrete require special attention on the part of the concrete contractor.
Silica fume consists primarily of amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon dioxide (SiO2). The individual particles are extremely small, approximately 1/100th the size of an average cement particle. Because of its fine particles, large surface area, and the high SiO2 content, silica fume is a very reactive pozzolan when used in concrete.