An indomitable particle: Colloidal silica takes on extreme environments

Colloidal silica stabilizes the ground under buildings during earthquakes and stops the spread of toxic pollutants below ground. It also preserves ancient carvings in the jungle, keeps the lenses and sensors aboard space vehicles clear and clean, and stands up to the hot, salty environment of petroleum and natural gas wells. It’s being tested as a construction material for 3D printed houses on Earth and for missions to the Moon and Mars. My e-book for W.R. Grace and C&EN BrandLab (gated content, free registration required).

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