The various products are obtained by varying the mixing ratio of the two components. They are therefore characterized primarily by the weight ratio (WR) or molar ratio (MR), SiO2 to Na2O or K2O, respectively. Soluble silicates are generally not distinct stoichiometric chemical substances (with a specific chemical formula and molecular weight), but rather glasses or aqueous solutions of glasses.


Silicate solutions are defined by their density and viscosity, which together with the silica to metal-oxide ratio defines a unique composition for the silicate solution. By evaporation of silicate solutions, normally in the sodium form, fine powders or granules are obtained that have a residual water content of ca. 20 %. Unlike ground lump glass, these materials dissolve readily in water to give silicate solutions.