Silicon Carbide and Trends
28 September 2010
The world silicon carbide abrasives market is influenced by manufacturing activities in the aerospace, steel, automotive, housing and furniture industries. Global abrasives market is greatly influenced by economic and technological trends in major regions across the world.
Silicon Carbide is the only chemical compound of carbon and silicon. Silicon carbide has been used as an abrasive for over 100 years mainly in grinding wheels. Silicon carbide has been developed into a high quality ceramic with excellent mechanical properties. Silicon carbide (SiC) is a compound of silicon and carbon bonded together (forming a ceramic) that is typically man-made. SiC also occurs naturally and is an extremely rare mineral.
SiC is mainly used as an abrasive thought it is also a major material for photovoltaics and as a semiconductor, it is used mainly to grind materials that have some hard or brittle qualities these include ceramics, glass, cast iron and cemented carbides. More recently, SiC has been used as a semiconductor. Silicon carbide is also used for bearings and furnace parts because of its high sublimation temperature. Silicon carbide properties include:
• Its high sublimation temperature
• It is also highly chemically inert
• It has high thermal conductivity
• It has a high electric field breakdown strength
Silicon carbide exists in at least 70 crystalline forms. Pure SiC is colourless. The brown to black colour of industrial product results from iron impurities. The most widely used forms of SiC in abrasives are the black and green types.
The main producer countries of silicon carbide are China, North America and Europe.
The production capacity for 2008 was estimated at 1.3 Million Tons worldwide by Abrasives (grains, bonded, coated and superabrasives) a global strategic report from www.intelligence-report.com with approximately 54% of this capacity coming from China. According to China Silicon Carbide Industry Report, 2009-2010 China’s output of silicon carbide in 2009 reached 535 kilotons or so, occupying 56.3% of the global total and ranking the first worldwide.
Chinese silicon carbide industry characterizes large output but lack of competitiveness. Despite the sufficient supply of output,says the China Silicon Carbide Industry Report, 2009-2010 most of China-made silicon carbide products are low-end and preliminarily processed, while certain demand-supply gap exits in the refined and deep-processed products with high added value. In 2009, China imported 1.3 kilotons of silicon carbide to make up for the domestic market deficiency in the higher quality material. This report highlighted many uncertainties in China’s silicon carbide industry because of the country’s energy problems and pricing policies.
There have been a number of reports that look at trends in the global silicon carbide market over the last year or so. A selection is listed below:
China Silicon Carbide Industry Report, 2009-2010 from ResearchInChina
Abrasives (grains, bonded, coated and superabrasives) a global strategic report from www.intelligence-report.com
Silicon Carbide Abrasives: A Global Market Report" by BizAcumen LLC