"Silica is a hard glassy substance which melts at 1710°C (3110°F) to a transparent glass. This temperature is too high for a potter's kiln and so some way of melting silica at a lower temperature is used in order to make a glaze. Fluxes are mixed with the silica. These have the effect of brining down the melting temperature to within range of the potter's kiln. The resulting melt is a mixture of silica and other oxides which link together on cooling to form a glass. Silica is the necessary constituent of this glass."
-The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques

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AKA Flint. The most common source of silica in clay bodies and glazes. Increases the thermal expansion in clays and decreases thermal expansion in glazes. Also used to raise the melting point in glaze. 200 mesh is often used in clay.

325 mesh silica is typically used in glazes.

A microcrystalline silica. A very finely divided or “micro” form of quartz physically bound together as loose agglomerates.