Production of Sodium Silicate Using Rice Husk Ash

Production of Sodium Silicate Using Rice Husk Ash


This work studied the production of sodium silicate from rice husk ash. Rice husk was obtained from a rice mill in Abakaliki. It was first of all washed with water to remove contaminants. It was then dried under the sun for 48 hours. Dried husk was carbonized using stainless pot and gas stove. The carbonized husk was incinerated in a muffle furnace at 0 650C for 4 hours. The ash generates was used in the production of sodium silicate. Optimum time for producing rice husk ash at 6500C is 4 hours. It is possible to dissolve great part of contained silica in leached ashes by the reaction with aqueous solution of NaOH at 800C temperature. The dissolved silica percentage increases with the increase in temperature and time of reaction.



1.1       Background to the Study

Rice is the seed of the monocot plants oryza sativa (Asian rice) or oryza glaberrima (African Rice). It is normally grown as an annual plant, Rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of calories consumed worldwide by the human species. It is known that rice harbors numerous nutrients that are good for health. About 20% of the major derivative of rice gain is rice husk (Mafid Farahinanardjon, 2011).

1.2       Rice Husk and Rice Husk Ash

Rice Rusk is the hard protecting covering of grains of rice. Rice hulls are coating for the seeds or grains of the rice plant. To protect the seed during the growing season, the hull forms from hard materials, including opaline silica and lignin. One practice started in the seventeenth century, to separate the rice from hulls. To put the whole rice into a pan and throw it into the air while the wind blows, the hulls are blown away while the rice fell back into the pan. This happens because the hull is not as dense as the rice. These steps are known as winnowing later pestles and a simple machine called a rice pounder were developed to remove hulls. In 1885 the modern rice hulling machine was invented in Brazil. During the hulling process, the hulls are removed from the raw grain to reveal whole brown rice, which may then sometimes be milled further to remove the brain layer resulting in white rice. (Jerzy et al, 2003).  The rice husk (or hull) is the outermost layer of the paddy grain that is separated from the rice grains during the milling process. Around 20% of paddy weight is husk and rice production in Asia produces about 770 million tons of husks annually (Hsu et al., 1980). Rice husk was largely considered a waste product that was often burned or dumped on landfills. In India, a non-government organization uses rice husk to supply rural villages with cheap and affordable electricity, while a company in Spain saves the environment one wood-free chopstick at a time. India, one of the biggest rice producers in the world, not surprisingly, also produces vast amounts of rice husk. Bihar alone is estimated to produce 1.8 billion kilograms of rice husk every year.

Rice milling industry generates a lot of rice husk during milling of paddy which comes from the fields. This rice husk is mostly used as a fuel in the boilers for processing of paddy. Rice husk is also used as a fuel for power generation. Rice husk ash (RHA) is about 25% by weight of rice husk when burnt in boilers. It is estimated that about 70 million tons of RHA is produced annually worldwide. This RHA is a great environment threat causing damage to the land and the surrounding area in which it is dumped.

During milling of paddy about 78% of weight is received as rice broken rice and bran. Rest 22% of the weight of paddy is received as husk. This husk is used as fuel in the rice mills to generate steam for the parboiling process. This husk contains about 75% organic volatile matter and the balance 25% of the weight of this husk is converted into ash during the firing process, is known as rice husk ash (RHA). This RHA in turn contains around 85% – 90% amorphous silica. So for every 1000 kgs of paddy milled, about 220 kgs (22%) of husk is produced, and when this husk is burnt in the boilers, about 55 kgs (25%) of RHA is generated.

1.3       Sodium Silicate

Sodium silicate is the common name for compounds with formula Na (Si02)nO. A well known member of this series is sodium metasilicate, Na2SiO3. Also known as waterglass or liquid glass, these materials are available in aqueous solution and in solid form.

Sodium silicate is used as raw material for several purposes, silicagel production, and preparation of catalysts, links, and load for medicines, concrete hardening accelerator, component of detergents and soaps, Refractory constituent and deflocculant in clay shuries (Shelke et al., 2010).

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are:

  1. To prepare rice husk ash (RHA) from rice husk (RH).
  2. To use the prepared rice husk ash in the production of sodium silicate.

1.7       Scope of Study

The scope of the study is limited to the production of sodium silicate using rice husk ash (RHA).



Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza saliva (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after corn, according to data for 2010 (Otto and Florke, 2008). Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans (Chumee, 2008).


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