Silica is a group of minerals composed of silicon and oxygen. Silica flour is a sand additive for casting produced by pulverising quartz sand. Silica has been one of the basic raw materials during the industrial revolution as refractory, flux and moulding sand. Silica is mostly utilised in well cementing to increase the cement matrix strength and for reducing the permeability of the cement especially at high temperature conditions. The growth in silica flour market is due to its use as an abrasive cleaner, in toothpaste scouring powder and metal polish. Its utilisation as an extender in paint, in wood filler and a component in road surfacing mixtures is anticipated to boost its adoption.
Growing Technological Advancements in the Sector may boost the Growth
Technological advancements such as nano materials can be used in the formulation of cement to increase its strength and durability. A research article published on ACS Publications shows the effects of nanoclay and silica flour on class G cement. As per the research nano materials such as nanosilica and nanoalumina reduced cement retrogression at high temperatures. Nano materials can enhance the compressive strength and integrity of the cement sheath as well as they are capable of controlling and reducing the fluid losses from the cement slurries. Due to addition of nanomaterials with silica flour significant improvement in flexural and compressive strength could be witnessed. These factors, thus, are anticipated to grow the silica flour market during the forecast period 2021-2031.
Usage of Silica Flour in Cosmetics
Due to the unique properties of silica such as, hydrophilic surface, versatility of saline chemistry for surface functionalization, their ease and relatively low cost and excellent bio-compatibility, its use in cosmetic industry is paving a way for the market growth. The mineral exfoliating particles of pure silica are 100% natural and offer exfoliation for all skin types. Silica in nano form is also used for cosmetic purpose to enhance the effectiveness, texture, and shelf life of various products. It is capable of adding absorbency, anti-caking agent and can be used in helping to release active compounds over time. Although, there are concerns related to safety of nano form of silica on cosmetics, the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety found no proof about nanosilica penetrating into the skin.
Alternative for Silica Flour may restrain the Growth
Use of granite waste material as an alternative to silica flour in oil well cementing is being researched according to ACS publications (pubs.acs.org). As per the research article, concentration of granite slightly improved the elastic properties of the cement. Replacement of 40% of silica flour improved the cement compressive and tensile strength by 5.7 and 39.3%, respectively. Using granite waste also reduced cement permeability by 64.7% and porosity by 17.9%. The use of granite waste in oil-well cementing was investigated under two temperature conditions 80 and 120 degree Fahrenheit. The results showed that rheological properties of the cement up to 20% of granite waste were acceptable. Therefore, its demand as a replacement for silica flour can act as a hindrance towards the market growth during the forecast period.
Prominent players in the market include Adwan Chemical Industries Company (Saudi Arabia), Silica Holdings, Inc. (US), Sibelo Group (Belgium), Sil Industrial Minerals (Canada), AGSCO Corporation (US), United Mines and Minerals, Euroquarz GmbH, Danish Minerals Corporation, B.R.K. Minerals, Astrazeneca Pharmaceutical Limited India, Micamin Exports, Luoyang Jihe Micro-Silica Fume Co., Ltd., Delmon Group (Saudi Arabia), Capital Sand Company (US), Finore Minerals LLP (India), Euroquarz GmbH (Germany), Fineton Industrial Minerals Ltd. (UK), etc.
In Feb 2021, researchers have concluded that sand from Suvo Strategic Minerals Nova Silica Sands project can be used in glass. The test work demonstrated production of silica sand to 99.3% silicon dioxide. The discovered silica sand is finely grained and suitable for high value silica market. A program by Kaolin and silica sand explorer tested the depth extent of silica sands.
Silica Holdings, a US based leading producer of industrial minerals announced its acquisition of Sandbox Enterprises in 2020. The acquisition aims to make Silica’s logistics network more efficient and grow the existing markets through partnerships, etc. The acquisition is done to address the challenges of customers for increasing the amount of proppant they use per well. The company aims to manage the entire supply chain of frac sand from the mine to the well site.
Aprinovva, Inc., an Amyris, Inc., joint venture in August 2020 commercialised the plant based silica which are made from sugarcane ashes. The ingredient namely Biosilica can be utilised in foundations, creams, lotions. The product is sustainable and better performing, also offering alternative to microplastics. The commercial scale volume is anticipated to begin in 2021 for Biosilica. The company aims to spread the message that materials and products can be recycled and reused and are never wasted.
Asia Pacific is expected to hold the largest share in the market owing to increasing expenditure of consumers and fascination towards elegant luxurious lifestyle. Utilization of ceramic in making tiles, water closets, washbasins, kitchen counter tops, etc. is anticipated to grow the market. China is expected to be leading market in Asia owing to development and demand of oil and gas and fibre glass industries. Higher growth potential in India and Japan are also anticipated to contribute towards the growth of silica flour market during the forecast period in Asia pacific.
Presence of automobile sectors is paving a way for significant growth in North American Market. Use of glass and silica for renewable energy sources in solar cells and wind turbines has also contributed towards the surge in silica flour market. As production of electricity due to solar and wind turbines is increasing in North American region, the demand for silica flour grows eventually. Rise in tire industry due to growing automobile sector, sales of passenger car, growth in purchasing of commercial vehicles is anticipated to boost the demand for silica flours in tires.
Europe is projected to have a significant growth in European region too. Its utilization in manufacturing sodium silicate for chemicals, detergents, zeolite, adhesives, anticorrosive material, etc., is likely to fuel the market growth. Venturing of automotive industries into construction sector has overlaid the way for a heavy consumption of sodium silicate, which may eventually pave a way for sales of silica flour.
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Key Questions Answered
Fibreglass or glass application segment is expected to lead the growth during the forecast period.
Production of Ceramic wares, growth in cosmetic industry and technological advancements, etc.
Adwan Chemical Industries Company (Saudi Arabia), Silica Holdings, Inc. (US), Sibelo Group (Belgium), Sil Industrial Minerals (Canada), AGSCO Corporation (US), United Mines and Minerals, Euroquarz GmbH, etc.
Oil well cement, fibre glass, foundry, glass, clay, etc.
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