Global Specialty Silica Market
Silica or silicon dioxide is chemically a colorless and crystalline compound and is the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust. Silica is widely found in form of quartz and is the major constituent of sand. It is also found in various living organisms. Specialty silica is used across a wide range of applications such as ink and coatings, rubber, plastic, agriculture and feed, electrical and electronics, personal care, food and beverages, and others. The rubber industry has been one of the leading application segments in the global specialty silica market. Amorphous silica, along with carbon black is used as reinforcing filler in rubber, especially in the manufacturing of tires. In the coming years, the rubber industry is expected to contribute significantly toward the growth of the market.
The major types of specialty silica are fumed silica, precipitated silica, colloidal silica, silica gel, and fused silica. Fumed silica, better known as pyrogenic silica, contains microscopic droplets of amorphous silica while precipitated silica is produced by precipitating a solution containing silicate salts. In colloidal silica, nonporous, spherical, and amorphous silica particles are suspended in a liquid phase. Silica gel is a granular and porous form of silicon dioxide produced synthetically from sodium silicate. Fused silica is usually added to glass to lower its melting point. Precipitated silica is extensively used in the rubber and inks and coatings industries and is among the largest product segments in the market.
Global Specialty Silica Market: Overview
Increasing applications of specialty silica in the automotive sector have propelled the growth of the global specialty silica market. Around 20% of the fuel consumption of a vehicle is due to the rolling resistance of tires. Specialty silica is widely used in tires to offer better rolling resistance and traction, thereby making the vehicle more fuel efficient. Rapid expansion of the electronics industry has fueled the demand for silica gel, which is used to absorb moisture from electronic products. All these factors will propel the growth of the global specialty silica market.
However, the availability of greener alternatives to products such as fumed silica is expected to hamper the growth of the market during the forecast horizon. Fumed silica is produced through an energy-intensive and environmentally-hazardous process that releases corrosive hydrogen chloride gas. Greener alternatives to fumed silica are manufactured from bio-wastes such as rice hulls.
Global Specialty Silica Market: Region-wise Outlook
The global specialty silica market has been segmented into four key regions: Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and Rest of the World. The growing demand from Asia Pacific is expected to significantly contribute toward the growth of the market during the forecast period. Rise in per capita income across the emerging economies in Asia Pacific has fueled the demand from the automotive sector. Major automotive companies have shifted their focus toward Asia Pacific owing to the rising demand and availability of cheap labor. The rapid growth of the automotive industry has driven the demand for tires which, in turn, has augmented the regional specialty silica market.
Some of the key players in the global specialty silica market are Akzo Nobel N.V., Evonik Industries AG, PPG industries, Nalco Holdings, Wacker Chemie AG, Cabot Corporation, and Qingdao Makall Group Inc. The key players are focusing on increasing their production capacities to meet increasing demand for specialty silica across various end-use industries.
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