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The global silica flour market size was USD 397.5 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 502.6 million by 2027, exhibiting a steady CAGR of 3.5% during the forecast period.
Silica flour is produced by finely grounding mined crystalline silica rocks. It is an odorless, white amorphous powder that is insoluble in water. Mined silica sand is washed, grinded down, scrubbed, and hydraulically broken to different sizes and sieved to obtain different distribution compositions of the flour. Grounded silica imparts abrasive properties and thus finds application as an additive in products such as cleaning products and different varieties of polishes. It is also used as an additive in soaps and toothpaste; as a reinforcing filler in paper, rubber, plastics, wood products, and infrastructural materials. It is also used as a filler in medical applications such as breast implants and pharmaceutical compositions. Moreover, the demand for this type of flour is increasing in foundry work, glass, ceramic, tiles, and clay production. Some grades are also employed in the production of construction materials, such as brick, mortar, cement, and concrete. Owing to such a broad range of applications, this market is projected to expand significantly during the silica flour market forecast period.
Disruption in Mining Activities amidst COVID-19 to Restrain Growth
The COVID-19 outbreak has been a disruptive factor in the growth of the industry. Various nations had announced lockdowns, which resulted in the halting of mining activities, affecting the availability of raw materials and siliceous rocks for amorphous silica manufacturing. Also, several end-use industries including paints & coatings and adhesives have reduced their uptake owing to the compacted demand for their products during this pandemic. Owing to these key factors, the market contracted significantly during the past financial year. However, the reduced demand was negated by the expanded requirement for ceramics and glass in newly developed medical infrastructure across the globe. For example, Milton Hospital, Canada, run by Halton Healthcare Services, used privacy smart glass for the construction of doors throughout its Intensive Care Units and smart switchable glass panels in all emergency rooms.
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Ability to Alter Desirable Characteristics of Paints & Coatings will Contribute to the Demand for Amorphous Flour
According to the National Industrial Sand Association, the annual production of paints & coatings in the U.S. is around 5 billion liters. Our analysis of the paints & coatings industry projects its growth to be about 6.3% during the study period. As amorphous silica imparts desirable characteristics, such as chemical inertness, acid resistance, abrasiveness, and heat resistance, it acts as one of the key ingredients for the explicit designing of paint products. Paint manufacturers prefer amorphous silica for the improvement of the appearance and longevity of architectural and industrial paints & coatings. The low oil absorption property of the flour allows amplified pigment loading, which helps in improving the finish of the paint. Its durability and low water absorption resulting in excellent abrasion and corrosion resistance properties of marine and industrial coatings. As the addition of grounded silica improves the properties of paints & coatings, the trend of its utilization in paints and coatings is projected to continue throughout the forecast period.
Rising Utilization of Ceramics to Provide Impetus to the Market
The increasing global population and improving the standard of living of people have elevated the spending capacity of the consumers and have led them to seek for distinctive construction materials to design their homes. One such material that has gained traction in the global construction industry is ceramic. It is used in multiple locations in both residential and commercial constructions including ceramic tiles, sanitary wares, washbasins, and kitchen countertops. Grounded silica is one of the cornerstone materials for glaze and clay body formulation. It is added to ceramics production for providing the melting or glassifying agents the ability to fuse. As the melting point of ceramics is fairly high, it is often fluxed with other materials such as amorphous silica powder to lower its melting point, which helps in maintaining the melting point of ceramics in a respectable range. Grounded silica also imparts hardness to glazes and decreases their thermal expansion. As ceramics are gaining impetus throughout the construction industry, especially in emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America, the utilization of silica flour is also expected to gain impetus and the market is anticipated to inflate considerably during the forecast period.
Increasing Usage of Oil and Gas to Drive the Demand for the Material
Oil well cementing is a key application of these fine silica grades. According to Tianjin Binhai New Area Dagang Farwing Technical Service Co. Ltd., the addition of silica in the cement matrix alters the ratio between silica and calcium, improving its stability while maintaining the penetrability as well as the physical strength even under high temperatures, ranging up to 110° C. Grounded silica is especially employed to grade G and H of well cement and also finds application in adjusting the density of slurries in place of ilmenite, barite or coal powder. In fact, the flour constitutes approximately 1/3rd of the cement used in these operations.
As the demand for oil & gas products has increased during recent years on the backdrop of rising requirements for energy and fuel, several countries including the U.S., Russia, India, and the member nations of OPEC have increased their efforts on developing new oil wells. This is predicted to enhance the growth of this industry for well-cementing operations.
Health Concerns Pertaining to the Exposure to Respirable Silica Dust Diminishing the Market Potential
Even though silica is commonly found in products, such as paints, coatings, adhesives, glass, and rubber tires, there is a risk associated when a person has prolonged exposure to the product. Around 2.5 million workers are exposed to silica flour and other forms of silica worldwide. The processing of siliceous rocks creates respirable dust, inhalation of which causes serious health hazards. Inhalation and retention of fine silica particles can lead to a condition called silicosis. Silicosis is an incurable lung disease that has a chance of causing permanent disability or even death. Individuals with silicosis are also at an increased risk of developing pulmonary tuberculosis.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) highlighted that crystalline silica quartz or cristobalite from industrial sources is oncogenic to humans. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration also categorizes and regulates silica as a carcinogen. Furthermore, studies conducted by Sibelco also reported numerous cases of several autoimmune diseases – scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis amongst the silica exposed workers. Thus, it is evident that exposure to silica bits can lead to severe ill effects. Therefore, the manufacturers are compelled to amend their production processes to comply with evolving workplace regulatory guidelines, which affect their profit margin and slow down the growth rate of this market.
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Addition of Amorphous Silica Alters the Properties of Paints & Coatings, Leading the Segment to gain Market Share
According to our silica flour market analysis, the categorization of the market by application of silica flour is done into paints & coatings, adhesives, polymers, glass, ceramics, fused silica, countertops, rubber, and others. The ceramics segment is further categorized into sanitary wares, tiles, and others. Out of the applications, the paints & coatings segment is projected to be the fastest-growing during the forecast period. Besides the benefits discussed before, the addition of grounded silica develops the important qualities of paints such as reflectance, brightness, and color consistency. Furthermore, it is added to architectural paints as a filler and improves the tent retention along with offering resistance to dirt, mildew, withering, and decomposition due to weather changes. As this flour improves multiple properties of paints & coatings, it is expected to gain market share during the forecast period.
On the other hand, fused silica is produced by melting highly pure silica sand. It is a key starting material for manufacturing optical fiber, which is largely employed in the telecommunication industry. It also finds application in the production of aerospace and semiconductor industries. Fused Silica is used in making windows of manned spacecraft including space shuttles and International Space Station. Owing to its UV transparency, the material is used in manufacturing erasable programmable read-only memory or EPROM. It is also used in 5D optical data storage and in semiconductor fabrication furnaces. Owing to these prominent applications, the segment is anticipated to hold a considerable share in the global market.
Asia Pacific Silica Flour Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 157.1 million in 2019. The improving spending capacity of consumers in the Asia Pacific region has provisioned increased demand for materials and products that simplify living along with providing a chic lifestyle. One such material that has gained traction in the region is ceramic, which is used in making products such as tiles, water closets, washbasins, and kitchen countertops. The increasing demand for ceramics in Asia Pacific is projected to expand the market for fine silica in the region. China and India lead the production of polymers and rubbers respectively and the prominence of these industries further provides growth opportunities for manufacturers in the region.
The paints & coatings industry in North America is expanding at a progressive rate as per our analysis. Furthermore, the oil & gas industry in the region is also swelling on the backdrop of increased demand for energy and fuel. These industries present significant demand for silica flour in the region. On the flip side, the market in Europe is driven by the glass industry. Glass production in the region has developed at a steady pace in the past few years with innovation of multiple tinted glasses and smart sensing glass revitalizing the growth. Moreover, various key adhesives manufacturers have their production base in the region including BASF, Arkema, and Sika. This has resulted in Europe holding a considerable share in the market.
The market in Latin America is currently very small and is driven by the growing production of marine coatings, adhesives, ceramic wares, and polymers. The economy of the region is improving and the demand for construction materials such as cement is expanding, which is enhancing the growth of silica powder as its addition improves the porosity and abrasion resistance of the cement mixture. On the other hand, the economy of the MEA region is highly dependent on the oil and gas industry present in the Middle East. The demand for crude oil has expanded across the globe for the production of petroleum products and resulted in the straining of the production activities in existing oil wells. To cater to the expanding demand, the companies in the oil sector are developing new oil wells and provisioning growth for the silica flour for oil well-cementing applications.
Leading Companies Focus on Acquisition and Expansion Strategies to Garner Silica Flour Market Growth
Acquisition of smaller enterprises and expansion are important strategies used by the leading companies to maintain their positions in the market. U.S. Silica is one of the prominent companies operating in the market. The company is involved in the commercial production of silica that is used in a plethora of industrial applications. The company has developed core proficiencies in mining, processing logistics, and materials science, enabling it to offer over 400 products. It operates over 25 production facilities and controls reserves of about 527 million tons of commercial silica. The company has the capability to mill silica into sizes ranging from 5–250 microns, some of the smallest particle sizes on offer across the globe.
Another prominent company operating in the market is Sibelco. The company is a privately owned business that offers a multi-mineral portfolio of high-specification materials via its over 160 production sites and 20 technical R&D development centers spread across 31 countries across the globe.
An Infographic Representation of Silica Flour Market
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The silica flour market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as production technologies, leading companies, and application segments. In addition, it offers insights into market trends, price trends, and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the market growth over recent years. The competitive landscape section covers the detailed profiles of leading key players operating in the global market.
Volume (Kilo Tons); Value (USD Million)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 397.5 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 502.6 million by 2027.
Registering a significant CAGR of 3.5%, the market will exhibit steady growth through the forecast period (2020-2027).
The glass application is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
Increasing utilization of the material in the production of ceramic wares is set to be the key factor driving the market.
U.S. Silica, Sibelco, AGSCO Corporation, and Capital Sand Company are the leading players in this market.
China held the highest share in the global market in 2019.
The ability to provide chemical and abrasion resistance to paints and coatings along with the capability to alter the performance of cement used in oil wells are expected to intensify the adoption of these products
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