Antimony trioxide is the one of the major compounds of antimony. Antimony oxide is mainly produced by two ways either by oxidation of antimony or by the process of re-volatilizing of crude antimony trioxide. The method of production is mainly dependent on the composition of ores. Antimony trioxide has the ability to react both as acid as well as base making it suitable in various end user applications.
Antimony trioxide reacts with mineral acids to give the corresponding salts. The major applications of antimony trioxide include flame retardants, polymerization catalyst in manufacturing of PET, as an additive in brake linings of automobiles and to certain extent as a coating for certain grades in titanium dioxide pigments. The flame retardant application of antimony trioxide is expected to dominate the market for antimony trioxide. Countries such as China, Russia, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan are the major producers for antimony trioxide. The major consumers for antimony trioxide are developed regions especially Europe and the U.S. With growth in flame retardant market across the globe the market for antimony trioxide also expects a positive trend in next few years.
The antimony trioxide has limited self fire-retardant properties. However antimony trioxide acts as an effective synergist for halogenated compounds or polymers containing halogens. The other major application for antimony trioxide is flame retardant in plastics and rubber. These flame retardant plastics are chiefly used in electronics applications. As the processing of antimony trioxide with plastics do not require any specialized treatment, majority of electronic companies prefer such treated plastics for electronic end products. The growth of electronic sector especially in personal computers, LCD monitors, printers or house hold television sets will act as a major boost for antimony trioxide market.
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Moreover, the market for cables and insulations will aid the market for antimony trioxide further growth. The flame retardant rubber is used in coal mines area where there is a high probability of fire exposure. The antimony trioxide is also used in flame retardant textiles, which are used in protective clothing, mats and curtains. The other applications include opacifying agent for glass and in manufacturing of complex organic pigments. However, due to availability for better products in these applications it limits the scope for antimony trioxide for these sectors. Antimony trioxide is also used as a catalyst in manufacturing polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
As the demand of antimony trioxide is based on its flame retardant application, the growth in flame retardant market will advance the need for antimony trioxide. The increase in electronics industry in developing and developed nations is anticipated to be the greatest end user industry for antimony trioxide. The developing nations across Asia Pacific and RoW are expected to be the fastest growing market for antimony trioxide in the next six years.
Moreover, due to the rapid economic development of these countries and increased disposable income of the citizens of these countries has led to further magnification of the total customer base in these countries for applications in electronic consumables and house hold electronic products. The augmentation of electronic sector especially in personal computers, LCD monitors, and other electronic equipments in developed regions will help the market of antimony trioxide to flourish further. As antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst in PET manufacturing, the demand for PET in bottles and containers across globe will aid the market for antimony trioxide to certain extent.
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Some of the key players in the antimony trioxide market include Sherwin-Williams Company, Almatis GmbH, Minmetals and Great Lakes Chemical Corporation among others.