Silicone additives are highly effective due to the combination of properties exhibited by silicone such as backbone flexibility, low intermolecular interactions, low surface tension, and thermal stability. Silicone additive improves the surface properties of substrate causing scratch and abrasion resistance, while reducing the friction. They are available commercially in the powder form, as liquid silicone additives require special equipment for their incorporation and there is a chance for migration of molecular weight of silicone in liquid form. The global silicone additives market can be segmented based on function and applications. Based on function, the silicone additives market can be classified into antifoam agents, rheology modifier, surfactants, wetting agents, and others. In terms of application, the silicone additives market can be segregated into paints & coatings, plastics, pulp & paper, and food.
In plastics, silicone additives are highly effective as internal and external lubricants. Addition of silicone additives improves the sustainability of the product by increasing the shelf-life of the substrate and protects it, while keeping a control on the cost of production. Silicone additives are used to control foam, enhance adhesion, impart gloss, resist moisture, and improve wetting, levelling and flow of paints, inks, coatings. Silicone additives act as antifoaming, wetting, and leveling agents in paints & coatings. Silicone additives, as an antifoam agent, reduce the foaming issues faced by the food industry, which demands limited choice of ingredients to ensure that such ingredients do not to cause harmful effects. They are also suitable as a food-grade lubricating oil in the food industry.
The pulp and paper industry relies on silicone additives that are used in the digester to improve impregnation of active alkali in wood chips and to improve cooking. They are utilized as antifoaming agents in pulp washing and paper making; and finally they also contribute to the finishing process and recycling of papers. Silicone additives are present in crop treatment chemicals that are sprayed on plant leaves. As wetting agents, silicone additives help in wetting the hydrophobic plant leaves.
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The key driving factor for the silicone additives market is their role in increasing the shelf-life of coatings. Paints & coatings was the dominant application segment of the global silicone additive market in 2016 and this trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Expansion of the decorative coatings industry has led to the rise in demand for eco-friendly additives due to the enactment of volatile organic compound (VOC) legislation in major parts of the world. The usage of expensive platinum catalyst in the production of silicone additives for the paints & coating industry is a major restraint that increases the total cost of the silicone additive. Platinum catalyst is majorly utilized as an additional curing system in silicone release coatings. Low volume of platinum can affect the efficiency of the curing speed and release property of the coatings. A compromise in the volume of platinum can cause incomplete curing. Furthermore, the high standards, demanding requirements and difficult challenges of plastic industry these days are creating opportunities for innovation in silicone additive products.
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Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the global silicone additive market during the forecast period. This is due to the growing paints & coatings and pulp & paper industries in Asia Pacific. Key players operating in global silicon additives market include Dow Corning, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd., Wacker Chemie AG, DowDupont, Micropol, Momentive Performance Materials, Evonik Industries, and BRB International BV.