Fluroelastomers are special purpose synthetic rubbers based on fluorocarbons, with superior performance and strong chemical resistance, particularly in high temperature applications. These polymers are also known for their exceptional resistance to a broad spectrum of chemicals and fluids. Fluroelastomers also have strong mechanical and sealing properties. Working temperature range for fluroelastomers stands at -26 C to 230 C. However, they operate at even higher temperatures for short working timelines. Various types of fluroelastomers such as hoses, gaskets, and O-rings are used in key end-user industries such as aerospace and automotive. These polymers are primarily used in seals and barriers, which are subjected to severe environments not suitable for other elastomers.
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Three major types of fluroelastomers are used in the industry: fluorocarbon elastomers, fluorosilicone elastomers, and perfluroelastomers. Fluorocarbon elastomers are widely used in key applications where high temperature ranges and chemical attacks are encountered. High cost and relatively different technology of curing and compounding are some of the primary limitations of the usage of fluorocarbon elastomers, where the cured products usually possess low resilience and low temperature flexibility. Fluorosilicones are primarily consumed in aerospace fuel systems and automotive fuel emission control systems. These elastomers provide high resistance to solvents, and oils and fuels, and also offer high resilience. Perfluroelastomers are specialty high-performance elastomers with high-temperature stability as well as strong chemical resistance properties.
Asia Pacific is witnessing rapid economic growth, primarily due to expansion in automotive and construction industries. Rising construction activities in the region has fueled demand for fluoroelastomer compounds. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for fluroelastomers. Additionally, increase in the number of automobile manufacturing companies in the region has boosted demand for fluroelastomers. Economies such as India, South Korea, Japan, and China are driving the demand for fluroelastomers in Asia Pacific due to the presence of large number of electronics and electrical manufacturing companies. The region is anticipated to account for two-fifth share of the global fluroelastomers market over the next few years. North America is the second-largest market for fluroelastomers.
Large investments across industries such as aerospace, automotive, and consumer goods is the major factor driving demand for fluroelastomers in North America. The U.S. holds the largest share of the fluroelastomers market in North America in terms of revenue and volume. The global economic slowdown in 2009 affected the automotive industry in Europe. However, countries in Europe are recovering rapidly from the recession. This has propelled demand for fluroelastomers in the region. Europe is one of the largest markets for automobiles. This is likely to boost the demand for fluroelastomers. Improving lifestyle and increasing infrastructural development in developing countries in the Rest of the World are also fuelling the demand for fluroelastomers.
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The fluroelastomers market in countries in South America, such as Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, and Costa Rica, is expanding rapidly due to growth in the automobile manufacturing industry. Global consumption of key fluroelastomers mentioned above is anticipated to rise at an above average growth rate during the forecast period. Primary market drivers include new product developments in sealing applications for better performance, further strengthening of emissions standards in several industrialized countries, and strong resurgence in global automobile production.
Key players operating in the fluroelastomers market include Solvay S.A., Dow Corning Corporation, E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company, Momentive Performance Materials, Inc., and Wacker Chemie A.G.