Specialty silicas are chemical compounds that are made predominantly from silica or silicon dioxide (SiO2). Specialty silicas are found in shape of chunks, sawed or trimmed blocks, round pebbles, and other shapes. Specialty silicas are widely adopted in food and beverages industry, footwear manufacturing, rubbers and production of ‘green’ tires.
On the basis of silica type, the global silicas market can be segmented as precipitated silica sol, silica gel, and fumed silica. Precipitated silica sol is the largest market segment of specialty silicas market owing to the increase use of it in automotive tyres manufacturing. Based on the various end user applications, the market can be segmented in three different categories namely chemicals, rubber, and food and beverages. Rubber was the largest market segment of specialty silicas in 2013. It is expected that rubber will be also the fastest growing market segment in the forecasted period owing to the increase adoption of silica rubbers in environment friendly automotive tyres. The demand of Silica sol is mainly expected from growing end user industries such as paper coatings and semiconductor polishing market.
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Increasing global concern over environmental sustainability coupled with different labeling regulations by the government in different part of the world is the major driver of this industry. Moreover better performance specification of green tires made up of specialty silicas such as higher resistance, less rolling friction enhance vehicle fuel economy, and increasing consumption of processed food and beverage, are some of the dominant drivers of the global specialty silicas market.
Asia Pacific is the largest market of the specialty silicas followed by Europe and North America. The growth is highest in Asia Pacific region owing to growth of the sizable Chinese market especially in automotive industry. China accounts for more than half of the total market share of specialty silicas in Asia Pacific. It is then followed by India and Japan. Middle East and Europe are the other two fasted growing market of specialty silicas attributed to growing export-oriented manufacturing industries in this region. North America specialty silicas market is heading towards maturity and a below average growth is expected from this region.
Some of the major companies operating in global specialty silicas market include, Akzo Nobel NV, Cabot Corporation, Ecolab Incorporated, Evonik Industries AG, Gujarat Multi Gas Base Chemicals Private Limited, Imerys SA, Oriental Silicas Corporation, Solvay SA, and Zhuzhou Xinglong Chemical Industry Company Limited.