Yttrium oxide, also known as yttria, is an oxide of yttrium metal. The rare earth metal oxide is one of the most stable compound. Hence, it is used in applications in several industries. Yttrium oxide possesses several important properties such as high erosion resistance, high hardness, chemical inertness, and mechanical strength. Other ceramics do not exhibit these characteristics. Yttrium oxide also has very high thermal stability and resistance to molten metals. Thus, it is used in refractory materials. The oxide also demonstrates high stability against radiations, primarily UV and microwave radiation. Thus, it is employed as an additive in paints & coatings for high-temperature and radiation applications. Yttrium oxide is also used in the manufacture of yttrium iron garnets for microwave filters and sensors, which are used for gamma rays and x-rays. Another major application of yttrium oxide is in the manufacture of YSZ, i.e. Yttrium Stabilized Zirconia. Yttria is also used as a catalyst in (polymerization) manufacture of polymers.
Yttrium oxide is a compound with exceptional chemical and physical properties. Thus, the market for this ceramic is expected to expand across the globe for niche applications. Yttrium oxide has several special applications and has virtually no effective substitute. The phosphor market is the key application for yttrium oxide. However, recent substitution of CRT displays with LED displays is hampering the yttrium oxide market. This is estimated to result oversupply, thereby leading to a decline in prices. On the other hand, demand for yttrium oxide is anticipated to rise in YSZ application. Thus, the global market for yttrium oxide is projected to expand as the price, supply, and demand is anticipated to stabilize during the forecast period.
The yttrium oxide market can be segmented based upon purity and application. In terms of purity, the yttrium oxide market can be divided into 3N, 4N, and 5N. Purity plays an important role in application of yttrium oxide. Yttrium oxide is used to subdue oxidation; therefore, majority of applications require high purity yttrium oxide as any impurity may lead to oxidation and corrosion. Based on application, the yttrium oxide market can be classified into oil & gas, chemical intermediate, glass, ceramics, and others. Chemical intermediate is one of the key applications of yttrium oxide; yttrium stabilized zirconia is the key product in this segment. The oxide is also used in the manufacture of glass. Yttrium oxide has a high melting point; high strength; and good shock resistance, which are effectively transferred to glass resulting in a strong and shock resistant glass. Similarly, production of yttrium iron garnets also exploit the radiation resistance property of yttrium, for manufacture of microwave filters.
In terms of geography, the yttrium oxide market can be segregated into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is one of the leading consumers of yttrium oxide. Strong growth in the electrical & electronics industry in the region has created significant demand for yttrium oxide. In terms of consumption, China alone accounts for more than 40% share of the yttrium oxide market in Asia Pacific. The country is also a key producer of yttrium metal and yttrium oxide due to the presence of large number of reserves of the rare earth metal. North America and Europe are also significant markets for yttrium oxide due to the presence of a strong functional coatings market in these regions.
Prominent players operating in the global yttrium oxide market are Jiangxi Rare Earth Corp., and Molycorp.Inc