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We work to support both new and existing market applications for zircon
One of the core principles of ZIA is to encourage and support the development of new uses and applications for zircon and its derivative materials.
Zircon has a unique suite of physical properties which make it suitable for a wide range of demanding applications. More information on these applications can be found in the Applications section of the website and, in more detail, in the Zircon Technical Handbook .
There is considerable R&D activity involving these materials, much of it in the zirconium chemicals sector. ZIA monitors global R&D activity across the whole zirconium value chain through regular reviews of the literature and is keen to encourage and support projects that have the potential to add to market demand.
We also work to support existing applications and markets for zircon and its derivative materials. The most significant of which is the manufacture of ceramics, which consumes between 45 and 50% of total world demand.
ZIA has sponsored research into the performance of zircon relative to other opacifier materials - read the article 'Performance and Cost Optimisation in Ceramic Tile Production: Achieving Whiteness and Opacity through zircon Opacifier', published in Ceramic Forum International in 2015.
ZIA also commissioned a cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment of zircon sand. The ISO-standard LCA report entitled ‘Life Cycle Assessment of Zircon Sand Production Applied to Ceramic Tiles’ demonstrated a lower environmental impact than the main alternative product, alumina, when zircon was used as an opacifier in the production of ceramic tiles.
Most recently, ZIA has published a study on the effect of adding zircon to roof tile ceramic glazes of various colours. The study concluded that adding zircon to ceramic roof tiles increases solar reflectance, potentially reducing the urban heat-island effect and lowering demand for internal cooling of buildings.
We aim to support the zircon market by responding to industry issues, by developing new applications for zircon and by enhancing existing applications for zircon wherever possible.
Learn how ZIA supports the development of new uses and applications for zircon and its derivatives.
Learn more about ZIA supported research and development.
Publication reviews identify areas of research and development relating to zircon.