Silicon nitride is an important structural ceramic material. It is a superhard substance that is inherently lubricating and wear-resistant. It is an atomic crystal and resists oxidation at high temperatures. It is also resistant to thermal shock, heated to above 1000℃ in the air, sharply cooled, and then heated sharply, without breaking. It is precise because of the excellent properties of silicon nitride ceramics that people often use them to manufacture mechanical components such as bearings, gas turbine blades, mechanical seal rings, and permanent molds.
If the heat-receiving surface of engine components is made of silicon nitride ceramics that are resistant to high temperature and difficult to transfer heat, it can not only improve the quality of diesel engines, save fuel, but also improve thermal efficiency. Such diesel engines have been developed in China, the United States, Japan, and other countries.
Silicon Nitride Powder Market Industry Overview
In 2019, the market size of China’s high-purity silicon nitride industry was about 1.025 billion yuan, up 2.81% from 2018. In recent years, the sales of high-purity silicon nitride in the Chinese market have been relatively good. The main factor for the decline in the market size in 2018 is the sharp drop in the unit price of the product.
According to GIR (Global Info Research) research, in terms of revenue, the global silicon nitride powder revenue in 2021 is about 82 million US dollars. In 2026, the total output value of the global silicon nitride powder industry is expected to reach 335 million US dollars, and the global market compound growth rate will reach 2.17%. In addition to Central America and Europe, Japan, South Korea, India, and Southeast Asia are still important markets that cannot be ignored.
Major silicon nitride powder manufacturers in the global market include UBE, AlzChem, Yantai Tongli Hi-Tech New Materials, H.C. Starck and Denka, etc. According to different product types, silicon nitride powder is subdivided into photovoltaic grade silicon nitride, ceramic grade silicon nitride, and LED grade silicon nitride.
Analysis of Silicon Nitride Powder Price Trend
At present, the production technology of the main production areas of silicon nitride powder in China and the world is mature, and it is difficult to make a big improvement in technological innovation. The silicon nitride industry is in a mature stage, and the market demand is relatively stable. Based on this background, the silicon nitride powder price has also been in a relatively stable period in recent years.
Of course, the silicon nitride price has also gone through a tortuous path of decline. From the earliest $400/kg to the current $260/kg, the downward trend is obvious. Compared with several large overseas enterprises, China’s silicon nitride enterprises adopt independent research and development equipment in product production, and adopt a “small profit but quick turnover” model in terms of price, which is more advantageous for quickly occupying the market. The main competitive factor of high-purity silicon nitride is its excellent performance, which can meet the needs of high-end equipment.
Silicon Nitride Market Has a Bright Future
Silicon nitride is mainly researched, developed, and applied as a high-temperature structural and engineering material. Silicon nitride products have been formed into commodities and put on the market, mainly used in machinery, chemical industry, metallurgy, aviation, energy, building materials, semiconductors, and other industrial fields, as parts of certain equipment and products.
In China alone, the annual demand for silicon nitride is more than 270,000 tons, while China’s domestic production is only about 100,000 tons. As a nitrogen-enhancing agent for structural steel, silicon nitride can improve the comprehensive performance of steel, and the annual market demand is more than 60,000 tons. The demand for silicon nitride as a refractory material in steel production exceeds 100,000 tons, and as a raw material for deep processing such as silicon nitride bearings, engine casings, tools, and other products, the annual demand is about 60,000 tons. Therefore, silicon nitride, silicon nitride powder, and its products have broad market prospects.