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    Industry news
    Silica gel industry shows fine trend!
    Time : 2018-12-17 
     Fine silica gel mainly includes micro-powder silica gel and functional silica gel. At present, micro-powder silica gel is dominant. Micropowder silica gel usually refers to products with micron particle size. It is different from basic silica gel in particle size, particle shape, surface characteristics, technical content and added value. It has been the focus of research and development of many multinational companies. With micro-powder silica gel as carrier, loaded functional groups become functional silica gel products with specific functions.
     
    Since the 1950s, refined silica gel has been produced in foreign countries. Up to now, about 10 companies, such as Grace Company, PPG Company, Fuji Silysia Company, Degussay Company, New Star Silicate Company of Korea and Donghai Chemical Company of Korea, have produced refined silica gel. They have formed dozens of series and dozens of brands, with annual sales of more than 100,000 tons. Qingdao Marine Chemical Plant of China has been industrializing fine silica gel products since 1980s. It can produce column chromatography silica gel and thin layer chromatography silica gel. However, the production scale of micro-powder silica gel in China is still very small. It is basically in the stage of development, trial production or low-end application. A small part of the production involves high-end products such as extinction agent and opening agent. According to incomplete statistics, the production capacity of fine silica gel in China is 20,000 t/a, the actual output is about 10,000 t, and the export volume is 230 t in 2006. Major domestic micro-powder silica gel production enterprises and production capacity statistics.
     
    Table 1 Major Silica Powder Manufacturing Enterprises and Productivity Statistics t/a in China
     
    Enterprise Name Capacity
     
    Qingdao Ocean Chemical Co., Ltd. 2800
     
    Qingdao Yinhai Chemical Co., Ltd. 1200
     
    Qingdao Mega Group 1000
     
    Qingdao Hailang Silica Gel Factory 400
     
    Anhui West Anhui Silicon Source Material Factory 300
     
    Gap Analysis of Fine Silica Gel Products at Home and Abroad
     
    The leading fine products of silica gel industry in developed countries have reached less than 10 microns in size, with 1-7 microns as the dominant one, with a mean particle size difference of 1-3 microns, narrow particle size distribution, excellent performance and wide application. Some specifications of products have been functionalized to meet the ever-changing terminal market demand.
     
    1. Micropowder silica gel for extinction agent
     
    Grace is the largest silica gel manufacturer in the world. As early as the 1950s, it developed micro-powder silica gel for extinction agent. At present, it has three series: Syloid, ED and C. Ineos has HP, Gasil and other products in Britain, Sylysia in Japan has SY series and DCC in Korea has Micloid series. These series of products are fine products for extinction of coatings.
     
    Tianjin Institute of Chemical Research and Design has also developed extinction agent products, but there is still a big gap between domestic extinction agent and foreign products.
     
    (1) Compared with dozens of brands of multinational corporations, China's product varieties are obviously less, and the product quality stability is poor, which makes it difficult to meet the needs of high-end extinction market. So at present, multinational companies dominate the market. Although the market price is between 40,000 and 50,000 yuan/t, which is 2 to 5 times the price of domestic products, they still occupy the vast majority of the market share.
     
    (2) The smaller the pore volume and the rougher the pore structure, the larger the pore volume, the more concentrated the distribution, and the better the extinction effect. The pore volume of domestic products is 1.4-1.8 mL/g, while that of multinational companies is 1.8-2.0 mL/g. Moreover, the pore arrangement of our products is scattered and rough, while the multinational corporations are centralized and regular.
     
    (3) The wide particle size distribution is due to the gap between the crushing and grading equipment of our country and that of foreign countries. Although the average particle size of our country's extinction agent products is comparable to that of foreign products, the particle size distribution of our country's extinction agent is relatively wide. The ultrafine part not only has no extinction effect, but also has a negative effect on the viscosity of the paint, while the coarse particles are difficult to disperse and affect the appearance and handle of the film.
     
    (4) Surface modification products of few foreign companies are very diverse. There are inorganic modification and organic modification products. Organic modifiers include silane coupling agent, organosilicon mercaptan, polymer polyethylene wax and tetrafluoroethylene. However, the modification of domestic products is limited to a few reagents such as polyethylene wax. The main indicators of some extinction products of Grace Company and those of Tianjin Institute of Chemical Research and Design are shown in Table 2 and Table 3, respectively.
     2. Beer silica gel
     
    Inoes has LuciliteTM and Hill-GardeTM series of beer silica gels. The average diameter of the new XL products of LucititeTM series is 10 micron, the average pore size is 80? Mole, and the content of silicon dioxide is over 99.0%. The average diameter of beer silica gel produced by Qingdao Ocean Chemical Co., Ltd. is 7-15 micron, and the content of silica is over 98.5%. There is an obvious gap between China and foreign countries in product size distribution and silica content.
     
    3. Micropowder silica gel for colour-jet paper
     
    With the rapid development of color printing paper technology, micro-powder silica gel has been widely used in color ink-jet paper. As an ink absorbent, micro-powder silica gel is bonded to the printing paper, which can keep the ink non-proliferation. The printing image is more clear and vivid, full and bright. The main factors affecting the image effect are the porosity, particle size and impurities of micro-powder silica gel. Both Inoes and Sylysia have made great achievements in this field. At present, there are no reports on the application of silica gel products in this field. The main indicators of Inoes Gasil series products for color ink-jet paper are listed in Table 4.
     
    4. Nano-silica gel
     
    Nanoscale silica gel is a field that all countries are working hard to develop. Silica gel was prepared by sol-gel method at Chengdu University of Technology, and then spherical, nanoscale silica was prepared by filtration, washing, drying and calcining. It has the characteristics of high dielectric constant, high heat and moisture resistance, high filling volume, low expansion, low stress, low impurity and low friction coefficient. It is an ideal filler for electronics, electrical appliances and chemical industry. The market application prospect is good. At present, the technology is still in the stage of laboratory research and development.
     
    Other applications of micro-powder silica gel include toothpaste abrasives, plastic anti-adhesives and food additives. Compared with foreign products, there is a huge gap in the technical content and market development of our products. It is urgent to accelerate the pace of research and development and application, and to improve the product quality and technical content as soon as possible.
     
    Table 2 Main Indicators of Some Extinction Agent Products of Grace Company, USA
     
    Average Particle Size pH Value of Oil Absorption Value of Pore Volume Specific Surface Area of SiO_2 Product Varieties
     
    Content /%/ml? G-1/m2? G-1/g? (100g) - 1/um
     
    ED-399.01.8350-4003006.07.0
     
    ED-599.01.8350-4003009.07.0
     
    C80399.02.0350-4003003.77.0
     
    C80999.02.0350-4003009.07.0
     
    Table 3 Main Indicators of Extinction Agent Products of Tianjin Institute of Chemical Research and Design
     
    Average Particle Size pH Value of Oil Absorption Value of Pore Volume Specific Surface Area of SiO_2 Product Varieties
     
    Content /%/ml? G-1/m2? G-1/g? (100g) - 1/um
     
    TMS-598.01.8-36056.0-7.0
     
    TMS-798.01.8-36076.0-7.0
     
    Table 4 Main Indicators of Inoes Gasil Series Products for Color Inkjet Paper
     
    Pore volume/ml?G-1 average particle size/micron oil absorption value/g? (100g) -1 pH value
     
    Gasil 35M1.24.02907.0
     
    Gasil 23D1.84.42907.0
     
    epilogue
     
    Because the international silica gel manufacturing industry focuses on refinement, high product value and low production labor, the domestic labor cost advantage is not attractive to it, coupled with more and more stringent domestic environmental protection requirements and the possible environmental impact in the future. Therefore, although multinational corporations have had extensive observation and contacts in China, there is no substantial acquisition at present. In order to adapt to its global strategy, R&D centers, marketing and service centers have been established in China. However, with the technological progress and the expansion of domestic demand in China's silica gel industry, as well as the increasing demand for high-end products in the market application level, this industrial pattern will be broken, and the pressure from transnational corporations will gradually increase. At present, part of the basic silica gel technology in China's silica gel industry is at the advanced level in the world. The next step is to focus on refinement. In order to remain invincible in the world pattern, the only way for the development of China's silica gel industry is to develop finely.