Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 38, Issue 15, pp 3159–3168

Review Processing, properties and applications of reactive silica from rice husk—an overview


  • S. Chandrasekhar
    • Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR)
  • K. G. Satyanarayana
    • Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR)
  • P. N. Pramada
    • Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR)
  • P. Raghavan
    • Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR)
  • T. N. Gupta
    • Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (Govt. of India)

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025157114800

Cite this article as:
Chandrasekhar, S., Satyanarayana, K.G., Pramada, P.N. et al. Journal of Materials Science (2003) 38: 3159. doi:10.1023/A:1025157114800


Rice husk is an abundantly available waste material in all rice producing countries. In certain regions, it is sometimes used as a fuel for parboiling paddy in the rice mills. The partially burnt rice husk in turn contributes to more environmental pollution. There have been efforts not only to overcome this but also to find value addition to these wastes using them as secondary source of materials. Rice husk contains nearly 20% silica, which is present in hydrated amorphous form. On thermal treatment, the silica converts to crystobalite, which is a crystalline form of silica. However, under controlled burning conditions, amorphous silica with high reactivity, ultra fine size and large surface area is produced. This micro silica can be a source for preparing advanced materials like SiC, Si3N4, elemental Si and Mg2Si. Due to the high pozzolanic activity, this rice husk silica also finds application in high strength concrete as a substitute for silica fume. Possibility of using this silica as filler in polymers is also studied. The present paper is an attempt to consolidate and critically analyse the research work carried out so far on the processing, properties and application of rice husk silica in various laboratories and also highlighting some results on the processing and characterization of RHA and reactive silica obtained from it in the authors' laboratory.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003