Zirconium acetate (C2H4O2Zr) is a clear and colorless solution. It is slightly acidic, bearing a strong smell of acetic acid. The molecular weight of this chemical compound is 151.3 g/mol. It stays stable under normal conditions and is non-flammable.
Zirconium acetate has various applications. It is used in the emulsion of wax and for manufacturing waterproof fibers and materials. Zirconium makes a covalent bond between the cellulose-based wax and the carboxyl of the substrate.
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In the refractor industry, zirconium acetate is used as a binder. It enables the cross-linking between films of water-repellant waxy and textile substrates. This happens due to the polymeric nature of the zirconium that holds the acetate groups in positions, which inhibits water penetration. Thus it is used as a flame retardant in the textile industry. A major application of zirconium acetate is as a catalyst. It provides the right source of concentrated Zr ion.
The growth prospects of various end-use industries in which zirconium acetate is consumed will bear an influence over its demand in the coming years. However, a major hurdle in the growth of the global and Chinese zirconium acetate industry is the extensive safety and environmental regulations implemented by authorities like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), and NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety), among others.
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Zirconium acetate when in contact with eyes or skin leads to irritation. As per OSHA the permissible exposure limit of this chemical is 8 hours. NIOSH restricts the same to 10 hours. Manufacturers are required to provide face shield or chemical goggles to workers in their factories.
Use of impervious clothing, gloves, and full-face respirator with a high-efficiency particulate filter is some of the other mandates for handling zirconium acetate. Manufacturers also have to follow the norms pertaining to disposal and cleanup of zirconium acetate so as to cause less damage to the environment. This increases their costs and hampers profitability.
China is an important market for the zirconium acetate industry owing to various factors like burgeoning population, booming economy, and rapid industrialization. Notable participants in the global and Chinese zirconium acetate industry are ZIBO Trust Import & Export Co. Ltd., Yixing Gaoyang Chemical Co. Ltd., ABI Chem, King Scientific, An Pharmatech, and Aurora Fine Chemicals
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