Solid sodium silicate's dissolving process in water is different from the dissolution of ordinary electrolytes. It is a complex physical and chemical process. The dissolving process can be divided into 3 stages:
Water dissolves: when solid sodium silicate contact with water and happen interaction. A hydrate will generate in the surface. Sodium ion exists around the tetrahedral network in the form of skeleton ligand. It is no structure of the link with silica tetrahedron. So, to overcome this kind of key needs the lower activate energy, but the capacity of Si02 chemical bonds is stronger.
The dissolution rate of sodium oxide is faster than silica. When the sodium ion has a ion exchange role with the hydrogen ion of the water, the water solution will become alkaline. At the same time, the surface layer of silicone glycol alkyl structure will form in the surface of solid.