Global Silicates Market: Overview

Silicates are compounds containing silicon and oxygen. Silicates are abundant in nature and they form major mineral components of the earth’s crust and mantle. The basic unit of silicates is (SiO4)4-tetrahedron. Different silicate minerals are produced by linking (SiO4)4-tetrahedron to self-similar units sharing corner oxygen of tetrahedron. Silicon atoms can be replaced by other metals to form analogous compounds such as aluminosilicates, wherein aluminum atoms partially replace silicon atoms. There are six major silicate groups: tectosilicates (framework), phyllosilicates (sheet), inosilicates (chain), cyclosilicates (ring), sorosilicates, and nesosilicates. The global market for silicates has been segmented based on product and application. In terms of product, the silicates market has been divided into sodium silicate, potassium silicate, magnesium silicate, and lithium silicate. Based on application, the global silicates market has been classified into detergents, water treatment, construction materials, automotive, chemicals, adhesives, agriculture, cosmetics, and pulp & paper.

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The chemical formula of sodium silicate is Na2(SiO2)nO. It is also known as water glass or liquid glass, which is available in aqueous solution and solid forms. Commercial sodium silicate is greenish or blue in color, due to presence of iron-containing impurities. Sodium silicate is used in applications such as detergents, water treatment, construction materials, automotive, chemicals, and adhesives. Sodium silicate is used to reduce the porosity of construction materials such as concrete and plasters. Potassium silicate is used as a source of potassium in the field of agriculture to increase the potassium content of soil. It also helps neutralize acidic soils; emulsify fats and oils; and disperse proteins. Potassium silicate is also applied in the manufacture of detergents, due to its property of softening the water by sequestering calcium and magnesium ions. In construction materials, potassium silicate is primarily used in drilling applications, while its use in concrete hardening is limited.

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Magnesium silicate consists of silicon, oxygen, and magnesium. It is used in industries such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, pulp & paper, and catalysts. Magnesium silicate acts as an adsorbent in cosmetic products such as talcum powder. It is also used for tablet compressing in the pharmaceutical industry, whereas it is used as a filler in pulp & paper, glass, and ceramics industries. Lithium silicate is easier to handle compared to sodium silicate and potassium silicate. It is used in construction materials in order to improve the resistance to mechanical wear. Lithium silicate acts as a hardening agent for concrete and helps improve the shelf life of floor coatings.

The global silicates market is driven by growth of pulp & paper, construction, water treatment, and cosmetics industries. The need for purified water led by rapid urbanization is augmenting the water treatment application segment. Geographically, the global silicates market has been segmented into five key regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.

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Among these, Asia Pacific dominated the global silicates market, both in terms of revenue and volume, in 2017. The silicates market in the region is expected to expand at a rapid CAGR during the forecast period. Demand for construction materials is also increasing, due to growing real estate industry in Asia Pacific. Europe was the second-largest market for silicates, followed by North America, in 2017. The same trend is anticipated to continue during the forecast period.

Global Silicates Market: Key Players

Key companies operating in the global silicates market are BASF SE, Evonik Industries AG, PQ Corporation, W.R. Grace & Co., CIECH Group, Silmaco NV, Oriental Silicas Corporation, Qingdao Dongyue Sodium Silicate, Aromachimie Company Ltd, Industrial Chemicals Ltd, SIEKEM d.o.o, MAGNIFIN, BEKO Troyan, Glassven C.A, Z.Ch. Rudniki SA, Huber Engineered Materials, PPG Industries, and Zhejiang Jiashan Dechang Powdered Materiai Co., Ltd.

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