Dallas, TX (PRWEB) September 15, 2012
World demand for specialty silicas -- which include precipitated silica, fumed silica, silica gel, and silica sol -- will increase at a healthy pace to 2.7 million metric tons in 2016. Robust growth in rubber applications -- the largest market for specialty silicas -- will drive gains, particularly in the expanding industrial sectors of developing countries such as China and India.
Silica will also register strong gains in demand in the chemicals market as more products employ silica additives to improve performance. Growth in the food and feed market will be restrained by market maturity in developed countries, though demand will still be moderate as more processed food is used in developing countries. The cosmetics and toiletries market for silicas will also see more limited gains, as the usage of silica in toothpaste is becoming increasingly mature. However, increasing personal consumption expenditures in developing countries, especially China, will continue to support growth.
Strong turnaround in rubber industry to benefit specialty silica consumption
A strong turnaround in the world rubber industry, which was hard-hit by the 2008- 2009 economic downturn, will benefit silica demand. Through 2016, the fastest gains in volume terms will be seen for fumed silica, fueled by a rebound in the production of silicone rubber for industrial rubber applications as the economy recovers. Precipitated silica demand will also be bolstered by strong gains in nontire rubber products.
Adoption of “green tires” to boost specialty silica value & volume demand
A major force impacting market demand in both value and volume terms will be the adoption of “green tires,” which use precipitated silica to lower rolling resistance and improve motor vehicle fuel economy. Popular in Western Europe, “green tires” are beginning to gain traction in other parts of the world as consumers seek out environmentally friendly and fuel efficient tires. Growth will continue in Western Europe with mandatory tire labeling based on fuel efficiency and other characteristics. However, as the “green tire” market in Europe approaches market maturity, advances in demand will take place in North America, Japan, and developing countries, where tire-labeling regulations are also being considered. Due to the size of the “green tire” market, precipitated silica will remain the dominant product type through 2016.
Semiconductor polishing to lead gains in industrial processing market
The industrial processing market will experience moderate growth, though more rapid increases will exist in the semiconductor polishing segment. As semiconductor device density increases, silica sol, which has smaller particle size and less tendency to form clumps, will be adopted in chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) slurries, a factor in silica sol’s quickly accelerating growth rate. Rapid gains in the paper market will also drive silica sol growth. Applications such as cosmetics and cat litter will have reached maturity in developed markets, restraining growth for silica gel.
Profiles for global competitors such as Cabot, Evonik Industries, PPG, Rhodia (Solvay), Wacker Chemie and WR Grace
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