Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is one of the most abundant materials available on earth’s crust found naturally in quartz, sand and other siliceous rocks. A major portion of silica is produced commercially from quartz.
Silica finds use in several applications attributed to its flexible properties. It is most widely used in the production of glass, porcelain and silicon. It is a good insulator of electric current while being chemically stable. Thus, it is used for electrical applications for storage of charge and blocking current. It can also be utilized, in its fiber form, for making high temperature thermal-protection fabric.
Silica market is driven by its use in solar panels and electric appliances. Increasing adoption of solar panels as a renewable energy source is aiding the silica market. The trend towards miniaturization of electrical and electronic appliances aided by silica is further expected to add to the growth of the market in the coming years. Use of silica for manufacturing optical fibers can be a future market prospect. However, substitution of glass, a major end-user market for silica, by plastic materials is expected to inhibit the global market growth.
The market can be segmented, based on end-use, into four key market segments as glass, silicon, electric & electronics and others including solar panels and heat-resistant fabrics. Globally, glass production shows the largest potential for application of silica followed by silicon. Electric & electronics is the fastest growing application closely followed by solar panels in terms of compounded annual growth rate (CAGR).
Some of the key players in the silicon dioxide market include Badger Mining Corp., Fairmount Minerals Ltd., Hedrick Industries, Little Six Corp., Manley Brothers, Inc., Nugent Sand Co. Inc., Oglebay Norton Industrial Sands Co., Simplot Industries Inc., Unimin Corp. and U.S. Silica Co. among others.
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