Zinc dichloride is an inorganic salt of zinc and hydrochloric acid. It is also known as zinc (II) chloride, zinc chloride and zinc butter in the industry. It is widely utilized in the textile industry for textile processing and in the chemical industry for synthesis of chemicals. Zinc dichloride is a white or clear, odorless, hygroscopic (in anhydrous form), crystalline solid highly soluble in water and in solvents such as ethanol, glycerol, acetone and benzene. Zinc dichloride is commonly available in hydrate forms as the anhydrous form tends to crystallize in presence of moist air. Zinc dichloride is supplied in the market in industrial grade and pharmaceutical grade formulations. Zinc dichloride has high toxicity and prolonged or repeated exposure to skin and eyes or inhalation may cause damage to organs. Zinc dichloride is acutely toxic if ingested and may cause severe organ failure. Zinc dichloride releases highly corrosive gases when burned.
Zinc dichloride is highly toxic to the aquatic life with long term effects and high bioaccumulation.
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Zinc dichloride is primarily used by the textile industry as a processing aid for textiles. Zinc dichloride also finds application as a processing aid in the pulp and paper industry. Zinc dichloride, in its concentrated (64%) aqueous solution dissolves starch and cellulosic materials. This property is useful for processing of textiles and paper. It is also employed by the chemical industry for the organic syntheses of alkyl chlorides as an essential ingredient of the Lucas Reagent (HCl and ZnCl2). Zinc dichloride is also used in forensic laboratories for detecting fingerprints and as an ingredient in the smoke grenades by defense forces across the world. Zinc dichloride is widely used in metallurgical fluxes for soldering with metal surfaces. A very dilute solution of zinc dichloride has been conventionally used as disinfectant and a mouth wash ingredient.
The zinc dichloride market is primarily driven by its demand in textile and paper processing applications and organic synthesis applications. However, easy availability of substitutes for similar applications in the chemical industry and handling and disposal difficulties due to corrosive nature of zinc dichloride might hamper the market growth. Expanding industrial economies of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa are expected to bring prospective opportunities for future market growth of zinc dichloride especially in the textile and paper processing industry.
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In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is the largest consumer as well as producer of zinc dichloride. Major industrial economies including China, India, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia and South Korea are the major consumers of zinc dichloride for application in textile, paper and chemical industries. Additionally, North America is a chief consumer for zinc dichloride especially in the chemical and the paper processing industry. In Rest of the World, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and South Africa contribute to major demand for the market, especially in the manufacture of organo-metals and chelating agents in the chemical industry. Europe is projected to experience comparatively sluggish growth relative to other economic regions due to current economic crisis. There is very low scope of capacity expansion in the developed regions of North America and Western Europe due to over capacities, high land and labor costs and stringent regulations. China, India and Eastern Europe are the best prospects for capacity expansion to serve the local demand.
Some of the market players include Alfa Aesar (Johnson Matthey Group), Merck Millipore, Avantor Performance Materials Inc., and Zaclon LLC. among many others.
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