Adsorption is a process in which ions, atoms or molecules from a liquid, dissolved liquid or gas adheres to a surface. In this process a thin film is created on the adsorbent by the adsorbate. Adsorption is a consequence of surface energy similar to surface tension. Adsorption exists in many natural, biological, chemical and physical systems that have applications in the industrial sector. Adsorbents are usually in the form of rods, spherical pellets and moldings that has 0.5 to 10mm diameter. Adsorbents that are regarded to be effective must have resistance to high abrasion, thermal stability with small pore diameters and must have a distinct pore structure which helps in speedy transport of gaseous vapours. Industrial adsorbents are classified as carbon based compounds that are non-polar and hydrophobic that includes materials such as graphite and activated carbon; oxygen containing compounds that are polar and hydrophilic including material such as zeolites and silica gel; polymer-based compounds which are non-polar or polar functional groups in a polymer matrix.
The major applications of adsorbents include drying, air separation, water treatment and oil and gas refining among others. Adsorbents are the major materials are mainly used in industries such as water treatment, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, petrochemical and chemical. Advances in technology to bring in various kinds of adsorbents with new advancements in the market will lead to increase the demand for adsorbents globally. Owing to government and environmental regulations the applications such as air separation and drying in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and medical devices are expected to grow at a faster rate in comparison with other applications and industries.
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The key driver for adsorbents industry includes advancements and innovations to create new and advanced adsorbent materials. The industries require adsorbents for a wide range of applications with varied characteristic and requirements. To serve this purpose, major companies are now focused on technological innovations to create new adsorbent materials which will be applicable in varied industrial and commercial areas. The technological developments to manufacture cost effective adsorbents is the major solution to generate revenue in the adsorbent market globally. The current and future projections according to the industrial and economic outlook for adsorbent market are based on the material demand in terms of volume and value.
The key segments for adsorbents market include North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and Rest of the World (RoW). North America is expected to capture huge share of the global market. Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the top market for adsorbents due to growing demand from China and India. China and Russia are expected to be the largest consumer of adsorbents among others. The developed economies therefore contribute to huge demand for adsorbents from the end user segment globally. Emerging economies are expected to be the potential markets for adsorbent industry with increasing production capacity.
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The major players that are included in the adsorbents industry include Axens, Arkema, BASF, Clariant, Calgon Carbon, Cabot, Meadwestvaco, Grace, Graver Technologies, UOP, Zeochem, Zeolyst International and Sorbead India among others. Many companies are now focusing on expansion with increase in production capacity and addition of new plants, to meet the growing demand and to achieve competitive advantage in the market. Axens which is molecular sieves manufacturer increased its presence through a new subsidiary in Malaysia for the adsorbents segment to meet the rising demand from the Asia Pacific region. Companies are now focusing on collaborations and joint ventures with the end user companies to increase its market share.
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