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What is Precipitated silica

2018-11-16

Precipitated silica is an amorphous form of silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2,white carbon black ); it is a white, powdery material. Precipitated silica is produced by precipitation from a solution containing silicate salts.

Threre are three main classes of amorphous silica,which are pyrogenic silica,  precipitated silica and silica gel. Among them, precipitated silica has the greatest commercial significance. half of it is used in tires and shoe soles.
Precipitated silica, a form of synthetic amorphous silicon dioxide, is derived from quartz sand, acrystalline form of silicon dioxide. The physical properties of precipitated silica can be manipulated during the manufacturing process to deliver products with a wide range of performance-enhancing Features engineered for many different end-use applications.

Sodium silicate and sulfuric acid are the raw materials used to produce precipitated silica. The physical properties of the resulting silica can vary slightly depending on the exact conditions . Changes in temperature, concentration of the solutions used, and the ratio of the ingredients in the mixture can all alter the physical properties of the silica particles. Manufacturers manipulate these conditions to change the size and porosity of the silica grains.

After the silica has formed, it is separated from the solution, cleaned, and dried. This involves washing the silica to remove all traces of chemical salts and by-products of the precipitation process. The washing and drying process can also affect the character of the particles. Particle size, porosity, and density can all be manipulated this way to some extent. Manufacturers can prepare precipitated silica in a number of ways depending on its intended use by the customer.Powder form ,granular form and micro pearl form three kinds of forms can be made by different operations.

 Growing demand for the product in manufacturing of green tires for motorcycle and automotive applications is expected to have a positive impact on the market. The region is one of the largest producers of heavy commercial vehicles and trucks, thus resulting into high demand.

Presence of substitutes such as carbon black is expected to be a threat for the market. However, the rubber manufacturers prefer precipitated silica over carbon black fillers as it offers improved stiffness, reinforcing strength, enhanced resistance to heat, and better color retention. As a result, this demand was attributed to extensive usage of precipitated silica in rubber industries for manufacturing rice rollers, micro sheets, PVC sheets, thermoplastic rubber, and shoe soles.


Commercially, grades of precipitated silica available in the market vary based on the physical properties such as pH, surface area, particle size, and oil and water absorption ratio. These properties of precipitated silica vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as the reaction conditions used by each player differ slightly.

Precipitated silica market is fragmented owing to larger number of manufacturers. The major players in the industry have large product portfolio, with several grades.   The series of products also can be applied to rubber, oral care, agrochemicals and paints and coatings applications(matting agent).

The major players in the industry including Evonik Industries, Rhodia , IQE Group, INEOS Silicas and W.R. Grace & Co. are integrated across the value chain. Majority of the players manufacture silicates, which are captively consumed by these players to manufacture various grades of precipitated silica.

Rubber manufacturing is expected to be the most dynamic application segment for the product as automotive manufacturers are constantly forcing tire manufacturers to innovate better tires in order to improve the performance of vehicles. Various initiatives by tire manufacturers focusing on R&D to study the morphology of precipitated silica in order to procure customized solutions from the product manufacturers are expected to open new avenues for the industry growth.


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