Transparency Market Research (TMR), A Market Intelligence And Research Firm, Has Published A Research Study On “ Ball Clay Market ” Ball clays are the commercially highly valued clays that, due to the strength and plasticity they provide to ceramic bodies, find applications in a variety of industries. Ball clays have varying proportion of kaolinite, fine quartz, illitic mica, and small amounts of minerals and organic matter such as smectite. Contaminant minerals found in ball clays usually include dolomite, gypsum, titanium and iron oxides, siderite, and pyrite. The proportion, form, and type of contaminant mineral found in ball clays influence the range of ceramic applications and usefulness of the clay.
The global ball clays market is driven by the continuous demand for ball clays for a large set of industries and applications. The market is also benefiting from the flourishing global construction, which subsequently is leading to an increased demand for floor tiles: one of the chief application areas of ball clays. The demand for ball clays is thus high in regional markets that are crucial for the construction industry, including Asia Pacific and Middle East.
The high plastic nature and high binding power of ball clays makes them an excellent binding agent for a variety of application areas. Most of these applications of ball clays fall in two categories: ceramic use and nonceramic use.
Ball clays are commonly used across a number of ceramic applications such as, the production of floor tiles and sanitary ware. A typical floor tile contains anywhere between 20 to 60% ball clay, and the rest contains varying proportion of talc, silica sand, pyrophyllite, and feldspar. The presence of ball clay in the tile body imparts green strength to the tile and enables forming so the pressed tile preserves its shape throughout the entire forming phase of the manufacturing process. The ball clay in the floor tile also helps the tile body to retain its shape throughout the firing process as well until a vitreous bond is formed in the tile through mineral transformations and melting. The ball clays employed in the production of floor tiles are typically very fine and range between the shades fire white to off-white. For some darker styles, however, dark firing clays are used.
The body of a typical sanitary-ware contains nearly 35% ball clay, 15% kaolin, and nonplastics such as feldspar and silica in the remaining 50%. Because sanitary-ware are cast instead of being pressed, the viscosity and rheological features that ball clay adds to the mixture to be casted are very important.
For the rest of the nonplastic material in the base mix for a sanitary ware, ball clay acts as a suspending agent, which help the coarse and nonplastic material in not settling out. The green forming characteristics that the ball clay adds to the mixture plays a crucial role during casting. Ball clays are also used in the manufacture of unfired ceramic ware, hobbyware, electrical procelainm and dinnerware, which gain their green strength and plasticity from ball clays.
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Ball clays are also used in a plethora of nonceramic applications, including the production of fiberglass, sealants, coatings, rubber, fire-retardant systems, adhesives, and rubber. Based on the application, ball clays offer processing characteristics such as stabilization and rheological modification, desirable oil absorption, extrudability, bonding strength, tack reduction, increased stiffness and reduced sag, controlled drying, pigment reduction, and improved surface appearance. Numerous blends of ball clay can also be engineered for addressing specific processing qualities, resulting in improvement of manufacturing process and quality of the end product.
Some of the key manufacturers of ball clay are, G&W Mineral Resources, WBB Minerals Ltd., Imerys Minerals Ltd, and Ashapura Minichem Ltd among others.
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