Antimony is a chemical element that generally exists in both metallic and non metallic forms. The metallic form of it is bright silver and is generally made up of brittle material. The non metallic form of antimony is grey powder. Antimony is considered as a stable element in dry air and is static to acids and alkalis. It has been noted that antimony swells on cooling and is believed to be a bad conductor of electricity and heat. Antimony is said to be among the anciently recognized element to mankind and it has been put to use for a wide range of applications since 4000 BC.
Antimony is available freely in nature. Not only that, it can also be extracted from ores like valentinite and stibnite. Elemental antimony is believed to be present in relatively small portion; the reason being high reactivity of antimony with chemicals like sulfur, lead, silver and copper. Stibnite is the frequently utilized ore for extracting antimony. Initially the ores of antimony are crushed and after that antimony is separated manually through hands from the crushed ore. Because of the availability of large reserves, cheap and abundant labor in China, the region has successfully led the whole antimony production.
It is said that antimony can be recycled from lead acid batteries. The recycled antimony is among other prominent sources for antimony. Not only that, it is gaining wide recognition as an easy source of antimony. Metallic antimony is brittle in nature so it has to be mixed with other metals or alloys for high strength applications. Antimony trioxide is the frequently utilized compound of antimony for a number of commercial applications including production of plastics, rubber, textile, pigments, glass, etc.
Antimony is extensively used with lead specifically to raise the strength level of lead in applications like ammunitions. Antimony is also widely utilized in lead acid batteries that come under the dominant applications for antimony. Other applications of antimony may comprise of production of low friction, flame proofing materials and glass. Market size by end use spans Automobiles, Paints, Building Construction, and Defense.
Increasing demand for electric vehicles and flame retardants in numerous end user industries like plastic been is driving the overall demand for antimony. Moreover, macroeconomic factors like GDP growth and purchase power difference are the major prominent drivers for antimony market. Exposure to antimony leads to serious health hazards that include breathing disorders, skin irritation, and lung cancer. Antimony also leads into several environmental hazards which have resulted in the increase in number of regulations to regulate antimony consumption. These aspects are impeding the overall market growth for antimony.
Geographical market size spans North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Middle East and Africa. Lately, Asia Pacific is leading the global antimony market mainly because of the high demand in China. It has been noted that above 80% of the global antimony production is alone managed by China.
In addition, high GDP growth in the particular region is estimated to compel the growth of the antimony market during the forecast period. The demand for antimony in North America and Europe will probably rise at a slow rate; the main reason being strict and severe regulations laid by the concerned government authorities in the respective regions. Some prominent manufacturers in the antimony market includeShanghai Metal Corporation, Beijing North Xinyuan Electrical Carbon Products Co. Ltd, and Qingdao Glory International Trading Co.
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