Global Silica Fume Market
Silica fume is a byproduct released in electric arc furnaces during the production of ferrosilicon alloys or silicon metal. Chemically, it is very fine silicon dioxide (SiO2). The individual particles of silica fume are very small, about 1/100th of the size of an average cement particle. Owing to its increased surface area, high SiO2 content, and the presence of fine particles, silica fume is a highly pozzolanic material that is used to improve the durability and mechanical properties of concrete. It is either added directly to concrete as an individual ingredient or in a blend of silica fume and Portland cement. Quartz, woodchips, and coal are used as raw materials in electric furnaces to produce silicon alloys. The resulting smoke from furnace operation is collected and sold as silica fume. The most important usage of silica fume is as a mineral admixture in concrete.
Silica fume is used across various end uses, such as in the construction of buildings, chemical production facilities, marine structures, nuclear power plants, oil and gas well grouting, and others. In the construction sector, high-strength concrete is an economical material for the building of high-rise structures. A couple of years ago, 6,000-psi concrete was termed high strength. Adding silica fume to concrete can increase the comprehensive strength of concrete by 15,000 psi. Concrete usually deteriorates due to corrosion caused by marine salts or deicing. Concrete containing silica fume has low water content and hence resists the penetration of chloride ions. As a result, a number of transportation agencies prefer concrete containing silica fume to build new bridges or rehabilitate existing structures.
Global Silica Fume Market: Overview
The rapid expansion of the construction sector has propelled the growth of the global silica fume market. Silica fume offers greater resistance to chloride penetration in applications such as construction of bridges, parking structures, and bridge decks. A number of countries such as Australia, France, Japan, Brazil, China, and the U.S. have outlined standards for the local usage of silica fume. These standards have mandated chemical and physical requirements in silica fume such as moisture content, pozzolanic activity, bulk density, percentage of SiO2, and others. All these factors have contributed to the growth of the global silica fume market.
Further, the growing demand for silica in the solar industry has also propelled the market’s growth as the production of silica fume is related to silicon production. The market has a huge scope of growth across emerging economies in Asia Pacific where rapid economic growth has fuelled the construction sector. However, regulatory issues regarding import policies of silica fume across different regions might hamper the demand for silica fume in the coming years.
Global Silica Fume Market: Region-wise Outlook
The global silica fume market has been segmented into four key regions: Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. Asia Pacific is emerging as one of the fastest-growing regions in the market due to growing demand from India and China. In Rest of the World, the Middle East and Africa contribute significantly towards the growth of the market due to the usage of silica fume across the rapidly growing construction sector.
Some of the key players in the global silica fume market are Simcoa Operations Pvt. Ltd. (Australia), Shanghai Topken Silica Fume Co. Ltd. (China), Norchem Inc. (U.S.), Globe Specialty Metals Inc. (U.S.), Elkem (Norway), Dow Corning Corporation (U.S.), Elkon Products Inc. (Canada), Kryton International Inc. (Canada), Cementec Industries Inc. (Canada), Brock White Co. LLC (U.S.), Carbon Enterprises, Rockfit Corporation (India), Bisley& Company Pty. Ltd., Wuhan New Reach Chemical Co. Ltd. (China), N.K. Enterprises (India), Shenzhen BemsunIndustryCo. Ltd. (China), and Ecotec Silica Fume (Australia).
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