Wollastonite (calcium metasilicate) is a natural mineral that consists of calcium silica oxides. This mineral contains several exclusive characteristics; therefore it is considered as one of the most versatile functional filler and reinforcement agents.
Wollastonite is formed when impure limestone are metamorphosed due to heat and pressure, or silica-bearing fluids are introduced into calcareous sediments during metamorphosis. In both these cases, calcite reacts with silica to produce wollastonite and carbon dioxide.
Wollastonite is primarily used in ceramics, friction products (primarily automobile brakes), metallurgy, paints, and plastics. Some vital properties that make it beneficial are its high brightness and whiteness, low moisture and oil absorption, low volatile content, and acicular properties.
Till 2000, plastics had the highest sales, followed by ceramics, metallurgical applications, paints, and friction products. However, this scenario changed in 2001, wherein ceramic applications accounted for more than 50% of wollastonite sales worldwide, followed by polymers at around 25%), and coatings at nearly 15%. The remaining revenue was generated through construction, friction products, and metallurgical applications.
In terms of geography, the wollastonite market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. The global wollastonite market is driven by increasing demand from the construction industry. Additionally, rise in construction activities in developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil boosts the wollastonites market.
Various authorities have introduced legislations and incentives (taxes such as CO2 taxes and quarrying and extraction tax) to regulate and reduce industrial activities responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. However, emissions continue to increase due to growth in population and rise in industrialization in developing countries, especially in countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where a three to fourfold increase in demand for wollastonite market is projected by 2050.
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