The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global foam blowing agents market for 2017-2021. The report also lists polyurethane (PU), polystyrene (PS), polyolefins (PO), as the three major application segments, of which the PU segment accounted for 47% of the market share in 2016.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global foam blowing agents market:
- Growing demand from the automotive and construction industries
- Increasing use of PU foams in sandwich panels
- Methylal used as an alternative to foam blowing agents
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Growing demand from the automotive and construction industries
The global automotive industry has been growing at nearly a rate of 3.5% and is registering an increase in the demand for foam blowing agents. Foam blowing agents are widely used in the production of different automotive parts such as side skirts, wiper cowls, roll pans, and bumpers. The market is expected to register a growth during the forecast period because of the increasing demand for vehicles.
According to Hitesh Bhatia, a lead analyst at Technavio for specialty chemicals research, “The increase in the application of foam blowing agents in the construction industry is also one of the major driving factors for the market. The increasing demand for housing, hospitality, flooring material, and effective sound furnishing is expected to increase the requirement for foam blowing agents during the forecast period.”
Increasing use of PU foams in sandwich panel
Sandwich panels have been growing mainly in telecom shelters, cold chain, and industrial buildings. Huntsman International is one of the leading suppliers of PU chemicals for sandwich panel manufacturers across the world. The emerging economies in Europe such as Russia and other Eastern European countries are currently facing huge growth for sandwich panels with many new laminators being used. The main advantages of PU-cored sandwich panels are lightweight construction, excellent thermal insulation, and rapid and economical construction technique.
“The main applicational of sandwich panels is in industrial and commercial buildings such as roof cladding and wall cladding which accounts for nearly 80% of the total sandwich panels manufactured. Another application is in the cold storage industry such as refrigerated warehouses and cold storage units that account for nearly 15% of the total market,” says Hitesh.
Methylal used as an alternative to foam blowing agents
Methylal is used as one of the substitutes for HCs and HFCs in the manufacturing of PU foams. Methylal is a colorless, clear, flammable liquid with a sweet odor and a relatively low boiling point. It is generally used as a solvent in the manufacture of adhesives, perfumes, resins, paint strippers, and protective coatings. It is moderately soluble in water, i.e., more than 30% by weight and miscible with most common organic solvents.
Use of methylal will enhance the global foam blowing agents market during the forecast period. This is because of the regulations that are driving the market in the US, Europe, and other emerging countries to ban HCFCs, which are harmful to the environment and people.
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