Aluminosilicate chemistry is the inorganic counterpart to organic chemistry, based on the manipulation of the many varieties of silica and alumina containing materials on earth. Although not as reactive as hydrocarbons, Alumiosilicates are vastly more available than petroleum and form a wide variety of materials with useful structural, thermal, chemical and electrical properties.
Silica (Si02) is one of the most abundant molecules on the surface of the earth. Alumina (Al2O3) is also widely distributed. Most minerals exist as complexes of Silicon, Aluminum, and Oxygen, as well as Iron and other less abundant elements. Kaolin clay for example, which is used by ceramicists is often dug locally, consists of hydrated silica and alumina (Al2Si2O5(OH)4). The various Feldspars, which comprise about 60% of the earth's surface, are variations on a common aluminosilicate theme, with various alkali and alkali earth components.
The smelting of aluminum and silicon from rocks, the purification of silica (fused quartz) for lenses, windows, containers, et cetera, and the polymerization of aluminosilicates (Geopolymers) are members of the field of aluminosilicate chemistry.