Rubber additives are chemicals or agents added during the processing and synthesis of rubber polymers. Rubber additives are incorporated with raw rubber polymer to enhance structural and mechanical properties, and improve the overall performance and quality of rubber. Various types of rubber additives include vulcanization accelerators & inhibitors, processing aids, adhesion promoters, chemical blowing agents, antiozonants and fillers.
Vulcanization accelerators improve cross-linking efficiency, while inhibitors slow down the vulcanization process. Processing aids are used to reduce the viscosity of rubber. This helps fabricate rubber with other components and reduce the overall energy required during fabrication. Furthermore, adhesion promoters are used to improve the rubber-to-metal adhesion during tire manufacturing. Other rubber additives such as fillers are generally used to increase the stiffness of unvulcanized rubber. Tire & tubing, consumer goods, construction, and electrical insulation industries are some of the major end-users of rubber additives. Tire & tubing industry accounted for the largest market share of rubber additives in 2014.
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Global demand for rubber additives is significantly driven by increasing consumption of rubber polymers in tire manufacturing and electrical insulation industries. Tire manufacturing industry is the largest consumer of rubber. Vulcanization accelerators, process aids and oil extenders are some of the rubber additives used in tire manufacturing. Accelerators which are used commonly to increase the cross-linking efficiency during vulcanization include guanidines, thiazoles, thiurams and sulfur. Furthermore, processing aids such as chemical peptizers and some plasticizers help reduce the viscosity for easy fabrication and stabilization. Extenders used during designing of tire treads include clay and calcium carbonate. Electrical insulation in household and industrial constructions is another driver of global demand for rubber additives. Rubber is a bad conductor of electricity; hence, it is one of the favored insulation materials. Oil extenders are extensively used rubber additives that help reduce the overall insulation costs. Stabilizers such as esters of fatty acids are also added to improve the heat and voltage resistance of rubber. However, environmental concerns coupled with stringent governmental regulations may hamper market growth. Regulations are imposed on rubber manufacturing industries, especially for VOC emissions that cause air pollution.
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In terms of global demand, Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the fastest growing rubber additives market by the end of the forecast period. China is likely to lead in Asia Pacific, due to growth in automobile & rubber processing industries. Other countries that are likely to exhibit a similar trend include India and Japan. Furthermore, Vietnam is expected to have emerging rubber additives market by 2022, owing to the current trend in shift of rubber manufacturing bases from China. The rubber additives market in North America is likely to witness sluggish growth, as the region has established rubber & tire manufacturing markets. Currently, the U.S. is the leading market for rubber additives in North America. The country is likely to maintain its position by 2022. Demand for rubber additives in Europe (including France and Germany) is anticipated to decline, owing to stringent regulations and policies imposed by the European Union. In terms of export, the rubber additives market in Latin America (including Brazil) is estimated to be in the emerging state due to increase in rubber plantations and rubber processing industries in the region.