Sulphuric acid is denoted by the molecular formula H2SO4. It is categorized as a strong mineral acid with high corrosive abilities. The acid is a viscous liquid that is soluble in water, and its color varies from yellow to colorless, depending upon the concentration. The strong mineral mixture depicts varied properties with regards to varied concentrations. The nature of strong acidity enables it to cause corrosion of living tissues and metal surfaces. At high concentrations, it shows different properties including, strong dehydration, oxidization, and hygroscopic.
Elemental sulfur is the most widely used raw material to produce sulphuric acid. While sulphuric acid finds varied application across a broad spectrum of industries, its single largest application is in the production of fertilizers.
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Sulphuric Acid Market Taxonomy
The sulphuric acid market is classified on the basis of the following segments:
- Raw Material Type
- Pyrite ore
- Elemental Sulfur
- Base metal smelters
- Others (from oil & petroleum refineries)
- Pulp & Paper
- Textile industry
- Chemical manufacturing
- Metal processing
- Petroleum refining
- Others (industrial cleaning agent, drugs & medicines, wastewater treatment, electronics industry)
Prevalent Scenario in Sulphuric Acid Market
Sulphuric acid is utilized to manufacture phosphoric acid. This phosphoric acid is later employed for the production phosphate fertilizers including, ammonium phosphates and calcium dihyrogenphosphate. Increasing demand for fertilizers owing to rising agricultural activities is anticipated to positively drive the growth over the forecast period. Sulphuric acid is used in manufacturing a number of chemicals including, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, ammonium sulphate, and aluminum sulphate. The growing demand for industrial chemicals for manufacturing various commercial products is projected to propel growth of the market over the next few years. Sulphuric acid is utilized for pH adjustment, oil splitting and generation of chlorine dioxide in paper & pulp industry. Rapid growth in paper & pulp is projected to aid growth of the market over the foreseeable future.
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The acid, when at high concentration causes serious damage to human beings and can lead to skin irritation and even permanent blindness. Owing to hazardous effects of the strong acidic mixture, it is often subjected to strict governmental regulations. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), has categorized the acid as a carcinogen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has listed sulphuric acid as a toxic chemical. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA 1998), has laid down guidelines for the permissible exposure limit (PEL), of the sulphuric acid to 1mg/m3. These regulations govern use of the strong acidic mixture in end-use applications and also the raw materials utilized to produce it. These stringent regulations coupled with the high raw material prices, are expected to hinder the growth of the market over the forecast period. North America and Europe are expected to account for the largest share in the market, on account of presence of major players in the region. The region of Central & South America is projected to witness a steady growth in its market share owing to the rapid industrialization in the region. Asia Pacific is projected to experience the fastest growth owing to burgeoning growth of various end-use industries in emerging economies such as China and India. Sulphuric acid is used in the most common hydrometallurgical processes to leach the ores in order to extract metals. Countries including South Korea and Japan, have a large number of metal smelters, and thus are anticipated to contribute towards the market growth in the near future.
The global market is highly fragmented due to the participation of many established and emerging players in the market. Major players involved in the market include PVS Chemical Solution and Phelps Dodge, CF Industries, The Mosaic, AkzoNobel N.V., Agrium Inc., Rhodia, Langeloth International, Honeywell International, Bayer AG, DuPont de Nemours & Co., Potash Corp (PCS Phosphate), Chevron Corporation, Lucite International, Chemtrade Logistics, Southern States Chemical, Climax Molybdenum Co., Big River Zinc Sauget, Cytec Industries, Tampa Electric, Solvay S.A., Evonik Industries, Chemtrade Refinery Services, BP Valero Energy, and The Doe Run.
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