Fracking Makes Sand The New Hot Commodity: What You Need To Know

September 03, 2014


Proppant Consumed by Volume


Source: Hi-Crush Partners, sourced from Freedonia Group, August 2013

There are a number of different types of raw fracking sand, including Brady, Brown Sand, Northern White and Texas Gold.


Sintered Bauxite

Alumina-Ceramic Beads



Source: EC21

Source: CBP Engineering Corp.

To be any good as a proppant, the silica/quartz, or frac, sand needs to be/have:

  • Crush resistant, resisting pressures up of 4,000-6,000 pounds per square inch
  • Low acid solubility – solubles are usually washed out when the sand is processed
  • Low turbidity – silt-clay size minerals in the sand are also usually washed out when the sand is processed
  • Round grained so that there is as little turbulence as possible when it is transported in the hydraulic fracturing liquid. (The current frac sand standard – RP 56 – set by the American Petroleum Institute (API), requires a roundness and sphericity ≥ 0.6 – based on the work of methodology of Krumbein & Sloss)
  • High purity quartz (API: 99+ percent SiO2)
  • Of specified size fractions (see diagram below). Some 90 percent falls within the shaded range


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