Polyolefins are polymers that are produced by polymerization of simple olefins. Olefins, also known as alkenes, are hydrocarbons with a carbon-hydrogen double bond. Polyolefins are hard, light in weight, and rigid in nature. They are primarily applied in structural plastics, consumer goods, industrial products, and food packaging. Polyolefins have waxy texture and they expand upon heating. These retain their odorless and nonporous nature when heated and cooled. This makes them an ideal material for food packaging. Polyolefins are preferred over other metallic and non-metallic substitutes due to light weight, durability, and resistance to physical and chemical attacks.
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Polyolefins are available in various types. Primarily, they can be classified into two major group’s viz. thermoplastic and elastomeric compounds. Thermoplastic compounds include polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP). Polyethylene can be further classified into low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). LDPE and HDPE are used in high-quality package films, owing to their light weight and high durability. Elastomeric compounds include polyisobutylene (PIB), ethylene propylene rubber (EPR), and ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber (EPDM rubber). Elastomeric compounds are employed in the manufacture of pillows, cushions, and footwear.
The polyolefins market can be segmented on the basis of applications. Polyolefins are primarily applied in packaging, automotive, electronics, and construction materials. In the packaging industry, there has been high demand for recyclable containers. Great awareness about reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is developing. Consumers are shifting toward everyday products with eco-friendly packaging. This is anticipated to boost the demand for polyolefins. In automotive and electronics industries, polyolefins are in demand due to their light weight and high performance. In construction and other industries, raw polyolefins are widely used.
Asia Pacific dominates the global polyolefins market and was one of the major consumers of polyolefins in 2015. China holds a major share of the market in the region and India is expected to be the speedily expanding market in the region. Increase in population along with speedy industrialization is expected to boost the polyolefins market in Asia Pacific. South Asian countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are also major markets. Regions such as North America and Europe are favorable markets for polyolefins.
These are relatively mature markets and are expected to witness stagnant growth. Other regions such as Latin America and Middle East & Africa are switching toward utilization of unconventional and bio-based sources. Industries in these regions are focusing on R&D investments coupled with technological advancements. The polyolefins market in Saudi Arabia and South Africa is expanding speedily. This, in turn, is likely to augment the polyolefins market in Middle East & Africa. The region has strong construction and packaging industries, which are anticipated to driven the polyolefins market in MEA. Competition is likely to intensify in the global polyolefins market in the next few years, owing to implementation of new environmental norms. This is also estimated to create new opportunities for players in the market.
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The global polyolefins market is fragmented, due to presence of a large number of local as well as regional manufacturers. Key players operating in the market include BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Bayer AG, LyondellBasell Industries, and DuPont. Increasing investments in the residential construction segment, followed by developments in the packaging industry, are projected to augment the market. This is likely to result in a steady growth rate of the global polyolefins market and the rise in sales of polyolefins.