Polyvinyl alcohols are colorless, synthetically manufactured resins or polymers. It is synthesized by dissolving polyvinyl acetate polymer in an alcohol to replace acetate group by hydroxyl group. Properties and applications of polyvinyl alcohols depend upon molecular weight and degree of hydrolysis present in the resulting polymer. Depending on degree of hydrolysis; polyvinyl alcohols are classified as fully hydrolyzed grade having 98-99% hydrolysis, intermediate grade have 97% hydrolysis and partially hydrolyzed grade have about 88% of hydrolysis. Properties of polyvinyl alcohols include good barrier properties, bio-degradable, high bonding capacity, excellent film formation, no health hazards. The applications of polyvinyl alcohols include textiles, polyvinyl butyral resins, adhesives, paper and specialty paper, polymerization, cleaning agents, PVC production, emulsions, ceramics, cosmetics, wood primers and construction.
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Growing packed food industry is expected to drive the market growth for polyvinyl alcohols. It is used in packaging of high moisture food to retain taste, texture and overall quality and improving shelf life of the food. It is also used as binding and coating agent in food industry. Coatings of polyvinyl alcohols are used in coating of food tablets and food formulations in order to protect active ingredients from oxygen, moisture and other environmental factors. According to research article, food loss due to improper storage and transportation of processed and raw food range 30-50% in developing countries. In addition, growing demand from packaging application in detergents industry is expected to boost growth of the market. It is being used in small dose packaging of detergents and cleansers.
However, raw material price volatility is expected to hamper the market growth. The demand for polyvinyl acetate is high from various other applications which are expected to hamper the supply of raw materials to polyvinyl alcohol manufacturing. New application developments are expected to provide immense opportunities for the players in the polyvinyl alcohol market.
Asia Pacific emerged as largest market for polyvinyl alcohols in terms of consumption and production. In China, demand for polyvinyl alcohol is increasing from major applications such as polymerization aid, architectural applications, paper coatings and adhesives, textile sizing agents. Demand in China is expected to grow at higher pace as compared to other regions. Japan, the U.S. and China are largest producer of polyvinyl alcohol and are expected to remain same. In Japan and the U.S. polyvinyl alcohol support the high production levels in the region. Asia Pacific was followed by North America in terms of consumption and production. Manufacture of polyvinyl butyral resin is contributing significantly to the demand of polyvinyl alcohol in the U.S. Overall demand for polyvinyl alcohol is expected to grow at moderate pace in the near future. Demand in Europe is expected to grow at moderate growth rate with polyvinyl butyral application expected to drive the market growth. Demand for water-soluble, biodegradable and ceramic binder polymer in Europe is expected to drive the market growth for polyvinyl alcohol.
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Global polyvinyl alcohol market is fragmented with large number of players present in the market. Major players are having presence across value chain with backward and forward integration. The market is on the verge of consolidation with addition of production capacity in China. Key players in polyvinyl alcohol market include Kuraray, Du Pont, Alfa Chemical Corp., Wego Chemical & Mineral Corp., Chemsolv, Inc., NeuChem Inc., Midpoint Chemicals Company, Continental Chemical USA, Novasynorganics among others.
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