The Pioneer Sands glossary of terms is a great resource for our customers and visitors. Here you can find definitions for many industry terms and acronyms regarding the multiple uses of sand. You'll find this section to be a useful supplement to the research papers and case studies available through our website. Locate a definition in the initial display of general terms or choose a specific industry from the list to find terms relative to that industry.

Read disclaimer about the terms and definitions on this page.


See Eolian

Aluminum Oxide

Bulk Density
The mass of a material per unit volume including voids.  Bulk density is usually reported on a dry basis.

Calcium Oxide

Weight per unit volume, expressed as grams per cubic centimeter or pounds per cubic foot for solids and liquids and usually as grams per liter for gases

Geologic term meaning “relating to, caused by, or carried by the wind”.

Iron Oxide

Fine powder silica sand. Synonymous with Pulverized Sand (PV).

Industrial Sand
“Industrial Sand” is a term normally applied to high purity silica sand products with closely controlled sizing. It is a more precise product than common concrete and asphalt gravels. Silica is the name given to a group of minerals composed solely of silicon and oxygen, the two most abundant elements in the earth's crust. Industrial Sands are used for many markets including Glassmaking, Metal Casting, Metallurgical, Chemical Production, Paints and Coatings, Ceramics & Refractories, Filtration and Water Production, Oil and Gas Recovery and Recreational.

Potassium Oxide

Loss on ignition

Magnesium Oxide

Material Safety Data Sheet

Sodium Oxide

Pulverized (PV)
See Flint.

Measure of the sharpness of a particle's corners.

Sieve Analysis
A sieve analysis (or gradation test) is a practice or procedure used (commonly in civil engineering) to assess the particle size distribution (also called gradation) of a granular material.

Sands are most generally measured by sieving. The basic principle of this technique is as follows; A sand sample of known weight is passed through a set of sieves of known mesh sizes. The sieves are arranged in downward decreasing mesh diameters. The sieves are mechanically vibrated for a fixed period of time. The weight of sediment retained on each sieve is measured and converted into a percentage of the total sediment sample. This method is quick and sufficiently accurate for most purposes. Essentially it measures the maximum diameter of a sediment grain.

Silica Flour
Powdered sand that helps oil well cement maintain low permeability and high compressive strength under high temperature conditions.

Silicon Dioxide (Quartz)

Measure of the degree to which a particle approximates being perfectly spherical.

Titanium dioxide

Measure of the degree to which the water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particulates. In practical terms, it is the amount of silt and clay sized minerals in a sample. Turbidity is usually expressed in Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) or Formazin Turbidity Units (FTU).

Whole Grain
Grains of sand that are able to be separated individually.


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