Pyrogenic silica is an all-round product widely employed in the chemical industry. Yet, despite being in everyday contact with it, consumers are usually unaware of its presence. In principle, HDK® – WACKER’s trade name for pyrogenic silica – is nothing more than a hyperpure, amorphous form of silica that has a high surface area and low density. It is used by the pharmaceutical industry, for example, to bestow optimum free-flowing properties on the products which patients subsequently consume in the form of tablets and capsules. It serves as a flow improver in toners, enhancing print definition and resolution. It is responsible in cosmetics for ensuring that lipstick does not melt and run in the heat. And it makes automotive coatings much easier to process.
“Pyrogenic silica is essential for many products and industrial production processes and therefore is in great demand,” says Maria-Anna Biebl, head of WACKER’s HDK® business in EMEA/India.
Just how important those seemingly nondescript additives are is shown by the example of the fast-growing market for wind turbines. Wind power alone now accounts for some 10% – and rising – of Germany’s electricity needs. Modern wind turbines can produce peak outputs of up to 7.5 megawatts and the blades can be more than 50 meters long.