What is SiO2 & Why Should You Care?

Dec 08, 2020


Model of silicon dioxide, or SiO2

The science of car care often whittles down to buzz words. A commonly overlooked bit of science is SiO2, found in “ceramic” car care products.

SiO2, or silicon dioxide, is a natural compound of silicon and oxygen — often found as quartz or sand. 95% of SiO2s industrial applications revolve around using this sand for producing concrete.

SiO2 & Car Care

The car care world uses a special form of SiO2 known as hydrophobic silica. Found in ceramic based products, this special SiO2 creates a slick layer with a surface tension that causes water to bead in tight, neat bubbles. The strongly bonded SiO2 nanoparticles safely stick to the surface of paint and clear coats in a layer that prevents liquids from passing through. Water only contacts the tips of these SiO2 nanoparticles, and with nothing to stick to, repel from the surface.

Benefits of SiO2

SiO2’s hydrophobic properties come infused in a variety of products, depending on the application. For example, Pearl Nano’s Speedcoat is a ceramic waterless car wash infused with SiO2 that lifts dirt away for an easier clean. This lessens paint damage caused by dried water spots and increased visibility if used on glass. Plus, the hydrophobic effect can last for months, or even years, if well maintained.

Before and after shot of speedcoat being used to remove dirt on a bumper

SiO2 Ceramic Coatings

To be clear, the strength of the hydrophobic and protective properties of SiO2 heavily depends on what the product, amount of SiO2, and the amount of surface area it’s applied to. The aforementioned Speedcoat is a ceramic coating maintenance spray and waterless car wash. It doesn’t replace regularly cleaning your car with soap and water. Speedcoat primarily makes cleaning easier and for adding a hydrophobic effect.

For improved longevity and protection, we recommend professional-grade ceramic coatings like Extreme and Nano EZ. These coatings incorporate SiO2 by suspending them in resin and require professional application to ensure their proper installation and effectiveness. The ceramic coating chemically bonds to your vehicle, which cures to create a semi-permanent surface. The ceramic coating offers, besides hydrophobic properties, advanced gloss, greater resistance to chemicals or abrasions, and UV blockers that prevent color fade and clear coat oxidation.

Why Should I Care About SiO2

Why you should use SiO2 infused products comes down to what you’re looking to get out of it.

Speedcoat, Spray-On Ceramic, and our line of Ceramic Coatings are great ways to offer extra value to your customers and increase your margins.

  • Speedcoat is a great, low-cost way to complete a quick detailing job.
  • Spray-On Ceramic is perfect as a detailing package add-on, ceramic topper or stand-alone coating.
  • Ceramic Coating applications are highly profitable and are highly in-demand services with large margins and add increased credibility to your detailing business when paired with our certified installer program.