Quartz

Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by a polymer resin. It is used primarily for kitchen or vanity countertops.
The material is factory made in slabs, cut and polished by fabricators with professional stone cutting equipment, and in the case of kitchen tops or in some cases large bathroom vanity tops assembled at the worksite.

Engineered stone products are gaining in popularity. Research reported in Consumer Reports (2010) magazine reveals virtually no difference in performance between quartz products and sealed granite.

Engineered stone is also commonly referred to as agglomerate or 'quartz surface', though it is possible to create solid surface using fillers other than quartz. A mixture of 93% quartz and 7% polyester resin is pressed into slabs using a "vibrocompression vacuum process". This technique combines a vacuum process to remove the air pockets from the material so that it is homogenous with a compression process that imparts tremendous pressure and heat on the product. The result is a product that can be machined, has consistent color and density throughout and is relatively heat and stain resistant.

Quartz is the major filler, although other material like coloured glass, shells, metals, or mirrors can be added. Different types of resins are used by different manufacturers. Epoxy and polyester resin are the most common types.
Chemicals such as UV absorbers and stabilizers are added. To aid curing, peroxide is added.

Engineered stone is typically worked in the same way as natural stone using a water jet cutter or a diamond blade. The material then is polished with stone polishing equipment to finish the exposed edges. This is in contrast with solid surface materials which can be cut with regular woodworking saws and finished utilizing conventional sanding equipment.

The material can be produced in either 12 mm (1/2-inch), 20 mm (3/4-inch) or 30 mm (1-1/4-inch) thickness. The most common slab format is 3040 mm (120-inch) x 1440 mm (56.5-inch). Engineered stone is typically less porous, more flexible, and harder than many natural stones, especially as compared to marble. Less porous varieties are more resistant to mould and mildew than traditional stone. Since it has a uniform internal structure, it does not have hidden cracks or flaws that may exist in natural stone. Its polyester resin binding agents allow some flexibility, preventing cracking under flexural pressure. But, the binding agents often continue to harden, leading to a loss of flexural strength over time. The polyester resins are not completely UV stable and engineered stone should not be used in outdoor applications. Continuous exposure to UV can cause discoloration of the stone, and breakdown of the resin binder.

The material is sometimes damaged by direct application of heat. Quartz engineered stone is less heat resistant than other stone surfaces including most granite, marble and limestone; but is not affected by temperatures lower than 150°C (300°F). Quartz engineered stone can be damaged by sudden temperature changes.
Manufacturers recommend that hot pots and pans never be directly placed directly on the surface, and that a hot pad or trivet is used under portable cooking units.

A variant of Quartz and Glass is a material known as Nano Crystal. This is a material made from pure silicone, sand, feldspar and quartz which is heated to intense temperatures in a furnace. The resulting liquid is cast into slab-width panels. The end result is a pure white glass-like material that is extremely hard, has high temperature resistance and is homogenous throughout so that it can be machined. It produces the purest, cleanest white crystalline vanity top in the land. Transolid® calls this material Nano Crystal.