Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals with crystalline, microporous appearance, which allows zeolites to absorb various cations, including water. Zeolites are naturally available, which can be obtained in mines using conventional open-pit mining techniques. Though zeolites can also be manufactured industrially for various commercial applications, natural zeolites have unique characteristics and over 40 different categories, each with different compositions. This is triggering demand for natural zeolites for various end-user application, boosting growth of the natural zeolites market.
Synthetic zeolites and natural zeolites are differentiated from each other on the basis of time scale in which they are produced, and the purity and quality of zeolites. Natural zeolites are consider lower on purity than synthetic zeolites as natural zeolites have more chemical elements and greater crystalchemical and structural variability. Though natural zeolites take a million years to form, the demand for natural zeolites has been increasing, which is attributed to its applications in various end-user industries such as agriculture, water treatment, and filtration in the oil & gas industry.
Natural zeolites can be differentiated according to their sizes, chemical compositions, as well as the arrangement of their crystal structures. While there are 40 different types of natural zeolites found at various mines, clinoptilolite, mordenite, and chabazite are among the most commonly mined natural zeolites for various end-user applications. Natural zeolites exhibit exception sorption and ion-exchange properties, due to which they find numerous applications in a wide range of industrial sectors.
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Rapidly Expanding Construction Industry Contributes to Growth of the Natural Zeolites Market
With the increasing industrialization and urbanization, the construction industry is gaining momentum across the world. The natural zeolites market is witnessing positive growth on account of its increasing applications as a vastly used construction material. As natural zeolites act as natural pozzolan in the manufacturing of concrete used in the construction industry, it has been witnessing modest demand since the past few years.
Lightweight concrete is witnessing burgeoning demand in the construction industry, which is providing a fillip to the global demand for natural zeolite as a lightweight construction material. Leading players in the natural zeolites market are promoting benefits of the lightweight characteristics of natural zeolites in the construction industry to boost sales.
Furthermore, other properties of natural zeolites, such as higher fire resistance, thermal stability, and greater sound absorption is propelling its applications in the construction industry. When used with cement, natural zeolites create porous, homogenous structure with improved resistance to fire and sound, which is further boosting their applications in the construction industry. Surging demand for natural zeolites in applications in the construction industry is expected to present the primary driving engine for the natural zeolites market in the upcoming years.
Synthetic Zeolites Replacing Natural Zeolites in Water Treatment Applications may Hamper Market Growth
Water treatment industry is one of the leading end-user industries in the natural zeolites market. The presence of heavy metals in groundwater or wastewater present a severe environmental problem, which is triggering the use of natural zeolites in wastewater treatment applications.
However, a majority of end-users are modifying the chemical properties of natural zeolites to further improve their effectiveness in water and wastewater treatment industrial applications. Owing to the increasing availability of better alternatives to natural zeolites, such as synthetic zeolites, the adoption of natural zeolites in the water and wastewater industry is likely to plummet, thereby, impeding growth of the natural zeolites market in the coming future.
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Developing Countries in the Asia Pacific Region Accelerate Expansion of the Natural Zeolites Market
The Asia Pacific region is expected to account for a significant share in the growth of the natural zeolites market in the foreseeable future. The industrial developments in the recent years have generated lucrative opportunities for players in the natural zeolites market to improve sales of natural zeolites across various industrial sectors, including construction and soil remediation.
Furthermore, the agriculture industry, especially in India, is likely to have a pivotal role in the growth of the natural zeolites market in the Asia Pacific region. Natural zeolites act as a perfect regulator of water for crops and plants due to its microporous nature and extraordinary capacity to accumulate water. Thereby, leading players in the natural zeolites market are streamlining their strategies to expand their presence in the Asia Pacific region in the upcoming years.
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