Zirconium nitride, also known as nitridozirconium, is an inorganic compound used in a variety of ways due to its properties. Its chemical formula is ZrN. The compound can be obtained through physical vapor deposition (PVD). Zirconium nitride is a light gold similar to elemental gold. Its room temperature electric resistivity is 12 micro ohm centimeter.
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It has high melting point i.e. 2,980°C. The hardness of a single crystal of zirconium nitride is between 21.0 GPa and 24.4 GPa. Its elastic modulus is 450 GPa (giga pascal). Zirconium nitride is a hard ceramic material, which is similar to titanium nitride. Zirconium nitride is also similar to cement as a refractory material. Due to its properties, it is employed in refractories, cermets, and laboratory crucibles. Zirconium nitride is commonly used for coating industrial drill bits, automotive and aerospace components, and medical devices that are subjected to high wear and corrosive environments.
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Zirconium nitride coatings are deposited by using the physical vapor deposition process. After deposition, it takes the form of yellow crystalline powder or an attractive, pale-golden-colored coating. Tools coated with zirconium nitride are suitable for non-ferrous metal applications such as machining of aluminum alloys, copper alloys such as brass, and titanium.
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Zirconium nitride has been suggested as a liner for hydrogen peroxide fuel tanks for rockets and aircrafts. Increasing industrial activities, especially in Asia Pacific, are projected to be a major driver for the zirconium nitride market during forecast period. However, the availability of substitutes and risks associated with the transportation of zirconium nitride may hamper the overall growth of the market in the near future.
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Based on application, the zirconium nitride market has been segmented into industrial cutting tools, automotive, medical devices, aerospace, and others (including refractories). Industrial cutting tools was a major segment of the market in 2016. However, the automotive segment is anticipated to register a higher CAGR than other application segments during the forecast period. Increasing use of automobiles in emerging economies such as India and China and excellent corrosion resistance of zirconium nitride are factors anticipated to drive the market during the forecast period. The industrial cutting tools segment is anticipated to continue to dominate the market during the forecast period. Tooling is required on a constant basis for different applications such as metal cutting, milling, and drilling. In order to avoid wear and tear of cutting tools and increase their life, coating is applied. This is the key factor expected to drive the industrial cutting tools segment during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific held a major share of the global zirconium nitride market in 2016 and the trend is anticipated to continue during the forecast period. Countries in Asia Pacific such as India and China have become large hubs for a majority of the industries. Increasing use of automobiles in the region and the ‘Make in India’ industrial development program undertaken by the government of India to enhance the growth of small & medium enterprises (SMEs) are the major factors likely to drive the market for zirconium nitride during the forecast period.
The market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to witness significant growth during the forecast period, owing to increase in manufacturing activities in sectors such as automobile, aerospace, and medical devices in the region. The markets in Europe and Latin America are likely to witness sluggish growth during the forecast period. Gloomy economic conditions in these regions have hindered the overall growth of manufacturing activities. This, in turn, is projected to negatively affect the zirconium nitride market in the two regions during the forecast period.
The global zirconium nitride market is highly consolidated with a few players operating in the market. Key players operating in the market include Reade Advanced Materials, Armor Coated Technology, Richter Precision Inc., Five Star Fabrication Inc., and H.C. Starck.