Beryllium oxide, also known as beryllia, is an electrically insulating compound with high thermal conductivity. Beryllium oxide (BeO) is white in color. It is produced by thermal decomposition of Be(OH)2 (beryllium hydroxide). It is produced in the form of white amorphous powder and is sintered into large shapes. The properties of BeO include excellent thermal conductivity and high corrosion resistance. It also has good chemical stability and resistance to carbon reduction at extreme temperatures. Beryllium oxide is available commercially in the form of powder with purity greater than 99%.
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The sintering of BeO is carried out at temperatures ranging from 1600°C to 1800°C. Beryllium oxide has properties similar to those of aluminum oxide or aluminum nitride. Its thermal conductivity is 10 times more than that of alumina. By using pressing, slip casting, and other fabrication techniques; various flat and tubular components can be made from BeO. When beryllium is alloyed with aluminum, copper, nickel, or cobalt; the process increases the hardness and corrosion resistance of the alloy. Due to its low density and atomic mass, beryllium is relatively transparent to X-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation. Hence, it is the most commonly used window material for X-ray equipment and in particle physics experiments. High thermal conductivity of beryllium and beryllium oxide has led to their use in heat transport and heat sinking applications.
Beryllium oxide is used in a wide range of applications. Based on application, the global beryllium oxide market can be segmented into electronics, microwave ovens, medical, military, energy, and laser. The compound is widely employed as a substrate in the electronics industry due to its good electric insulation and high thermal conductivity. In the medical industry, it is used in gas lasers for tissue analysis and in blood glucose meters. Nuclear properties of beryllium oxide make it attractive for nuclear applications. The electronics segment is expected to expand significantly during the forecast period. Medical and military segments are also anticipated to witness steady growth during the same period.
In terms of region, the global beryllium oxide market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The global beryllium oxide market is expected to expand at a significant rate during the forecast period. In terms of demand, North America is anticipated to be the dominant market in the near future. The markets in Asia Pacific and Latin America are also expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. The corrosion resistance and high temperature stability of beryllium oxide are factors anticipated to drive the global market during the forecast period. However, toxic nature of beryllium oxide is anticipated to hamper the market in the next few years. Moreover, the cost of handling beryllium oxide during fabrication is higher due to its toxicity.
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Companies operating in the global beryllium oxide market are adopting aggressive marketing tactics and the strategy of mergers and acquisitions in order to increase their market share. They are investing high amounts in research and development of fabrication technologies in order to reduce the toxicity of beryllium oxide and thereby, the cost of handling. Additionally, companies are using exports as a tool for geographical expansion in emerging economies in Middle East & Africa.