Styrenic Block Copolymers: A Versatile Compound for Polymer Modification

Industry : Plastics, Polymers & Resins    

Styrenic block copolymers (SBCs) are one of the most widely consumed members of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) family. They are used for a broad range of applications which require high performance polymers. SBCs process like polymers but exhibit properties similar to that of rubber. They are the lowest priced TPEs owing to the bulk consumption in diverse end-use industries such as adhesives & sealants.

SBCs, introduced more than 40 years ago, have reached their saturation point not only in terms of consumption but also other factors such as relatively stagnant scope in general applications. However, companies operating in the global industry continue to focus on enhancing and improving the physical properties of the product by means of molecular tailoring. In addition, research is also being carried out to develop materials which match the specific requirements of the end use industries.

Growing medical and healthcare industry owing to rising disposable income and health conscious consumers is expected to drive demand for SBC over the forecast period. Growth of other end-use industries such as adhesives & sealants and footwear particularly in the emerging economies of Asia Pacific is expected to support SBC growth.

Rising building and construction investment potential in mature as well as developing economies owing to government pressure to create sustainable and green infrastructure are anticipated to be among the key driving factors for industry growth. In the mature regions, growth is expected to be driven by adhesives & sealants application while in the developing economies, compounding and polymer modification are expected to play a key role

Companies are increasingly adopting strategic initiatives to sustain in the market since the market is characterized by the presence of a large number of manufacturers with the product reaching saturation. Merger & acquisitions, product development, technological advancements & modernization, extensive R&D, and capacity expansion are some of the strategies being adopted.

Sustainability is expected to gain traction in all the areas of application and is not restricted solely to biodegradable polymer applications. Focus of the novel styrene polymers is on product improvement rather than on the development of wholly new polymers. One example of targeted control over the structure/property design is the polymerization of styrene and butadiene by controlled pathways

Recent advances in polymerization techniques have resulted in the development of elastomeric block copolymers. Polymerized soy-derived triglycerides and polystyrene serve as the principle raw materials for these elastomeric block copolymers. In the past few years, research on plant-oil based polymer has yielded products that fall under the category of thermosets. However, the newly produced polymers offer exceptional properties such as being processable at high temperatures.

Utilizing a new renewable monomer called B-farnesene, Kuraray has developed a new product, known as hydrogenated styrene farnesene copolymer (HSFC) holding a unique chemical structure along with certain differentiated properties. B-farnesene, the key raw material for this product, is produced via fermentation of sugar that is extracted from sugarcane. It is based on an innovative microbial engineering technology from Amyris.

key  In-depth report on global styrenic block copolymers (sbcs) market by Grand View Research:

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