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Silicates

Silicates are compounds that contain an anionic silicon compound. The vast majority of silicates are made up of oxides, but hexafluorosilicate ([SiF6]2−) and additional anions are also included.

Orthosilicate is considered the anion SiO44− or its compounds. Connected to orthosilicates are the families of anions (and their related compounds) with the formula [SiO2+n]2n−. Prominent members of this family are the cyclic and single chain silicates {[SiO3]2−}n in addition to the sheet-forming silicates {[SiO2.5]−}n.

Silicates set up the majority of Earth's crust, along with the other native planets, asteroids, and rocky moons. Portland cement, sand, and thousands of other minerals are excellent examples of silicates. Silicate compounds, which also include the minerals, are made up of silicate anions whose charges are composed of various cations. Myriad silicate anions may exist, and can form compounds individually with a variety of cations. This is why this class of compounds is considered to be quite large. Both synthetic materials and minerals fit into this category.