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Global Styrenic Polymers Market for Medical Applications: Snapshot

Styrenic polymers, or styrenics, are a class of the plastics family, with styrene as the main building block. Polystyrene is the parent material for all styrenic copolymers. It is a widely utilized thermoplastic material. It is employed in various end-user industries such as automotive, building & construction, electrical & electronics, and medical among many others.

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Styrenic polymers that are employed in medical applications include polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), styrene butadiene block copolymers (SBC), styrene methyl methacrylate (SMMA), and others. Styrenic polymers are employed in various applications in the medical industry. For instance, these are utilized in the manufacture of surgical instruments, portable medical devices, liquid containers, connector tubes, and bags.

Restrictions on PVC in medical applications have benefitted other plastics such as styrenic polymers. A new family of hydrogenated SBCs has found new applications in the medical market. According to the U.S. FDA, thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are best suited for applications that require UV stability, and are safe to be utilized in medical devices and equipment. Styrene block copolymers are halogen and plasticizer-free materials with superior abrasion resistance. These exhibit good mechanical performance. This shift in trend toward lower reliance on PVC materials is a major factor driving the medical styrenics market.

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Styrenic polymers offer several functional and environmental advantages over other plastic families such as PVC, polypropylene, and polyethylene. However, the higher price of common styrenic polymers (such as polystyrene and ABS) over its competitors restrains the market to some extent. The price sensitive nature of the market, especially in Asia Pacific, is anticipated to hamper the market for styrenic polymers due to its high prices. However, the prices of styrenic polymers are estimated to decline due to the rapid fall in prices of raw materials in recent years. This is projected to boost the demand for styrenic polymers.

Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific Held Dominant Share in Overall Market

In terms of demand, Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America collectively accounted for more than 80% share of the TBHP market in 2016. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, the U.S., Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Belgium are some of the major countries producing styrenic polymers. Various styrenic polymers are also exported in comparatively small amounts by countries such as Jordan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, Portugal, the UAE, and Argentina.

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