Due to silica aerogel’s various beneficial properties such as superior thermal insulation, lightness, and environment-friendly nature, its application is increasing, thereby leading to the growth of the silica aerogel market. In 2015, the market generated revenue of $273.0 million, and it is predicted to progress at a CAGR of 31.1% during the forecast period (2016–2022). Silica aerogel is a lightweight solid material produced by means of sol-gel chemistry. It is obtained from a gel, in which the liquid substance is replaced by gas.
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Based on form, the silica aerogel market is broadly categorized into blanket, panel, and monolith. Out of these, during the historical period (2012–2015), the blanket category dominated the market in terms of sales volume and revenue, and it is predicted to maintain its dominance during the forecast period. Silica aerogel blanket products, sold in multiple thicknesses, can be consumed as thermal insulation in industrial, apparel, and building applications. These are widely adopted for applications where thin product is required, as these that can be easily cut, rolled, and shaped at construction areas.
Thus, due to their various advantageous properties, blankets are being heavily used, which, in turn, is boosting the growth of the market. On the basis of application, the silica aerogel market is mainly classified into oil & gas, industrial insulation, transportation, aerospace & defense, and building insulation. Among these, during 2012–2015, the oil & gas classification led the market in terms of value and sales volume, and it is expected to continue leading it during 2016–2022, owing to the rising focus on efficient insulation systems to adhere to environmental regulations.
The challenges faced by oil & gas companies in the form of cold Arctic environment, oil sands, and ultra-deep waters are continuously rising. Silica aerogel supplies are available in a wide range of forms to meet the increasing needs of the oil and gas industry. Furthermore, the construction, aerospace & defense, and transportation sectors are also widely adopting silica aerogel, thereby fueling the growth of the silica aerogel market. For instance, in the transport sector, insulation assists in lowering the noise and heat in personal and commercial vehicles, such as buses, trucks, and mass transit cars.
Silica aerogel is the lightest insulation material with significant thermal conductivity, which makes it viable for use in the aerospace and defense sector. Silica aerogel is a solid that can be used again for a chain of applications and can be safely disposed. For instance, the silica aerogel blankets consumed in building for insulation can be easily recycled by processing as additive or composites for other applications, including coatings and plasters. Thus, due to these features, the adoption of silica aerogel is swelling, leading to the growth of the silica aerogel market.
Aerogels are the lightest solid materials across the world, consisting of 95.0% to 99.0% air by volume. When the liquid, initially present, is changed, a puffed-up sand with up to 99.0% porosity remains, which results in an extremely low-density solid. Silica aerogel is adopted to improve the thermal performance of energy-saving substances and sustainable products for buildings, consumer products, and on and off-shore industrial infrastructure and act as a high-performance additive for personal care products and coatings.
Thus, the beneficial properties of silica aerogel are resulting in its widespread adoption in various sectors.