Condensation polymerization technique is one of the simplest and most novel methods for the preparation of polyurethane (PU) microspheres of uniform shape, narrow particle size, and specific molecular weight. The molecular weight of PU microspheres ranges from 200 to 2000 and particle size distribution may range from 1 to 100 micron. PU microspheres have a uniform shape and size, which are used to prepare films of uniform thickness without any defects or fat edges. PU microspheres are generally known for their superior surface finish, smoothness, and uniform coating thickness.
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PU microspheres have a wide range of applications in paints & coatings. They are used as thickeners in paints, cosmetics, oils, and textiles. PU microspheres are used as a substitutes for linseeds in the manufacturing of foundry core oil. In the cement industry, PU microspheres are used as hardening agents. PU microspheres are used as encapsulants for agrochemicals, pigments, reactive chemicals, and drugs, acting as a curing agent.
In 2014, paints and coatings was one of the largest application segments for PU microspheres. The growth in end-use industries such as paint & coating will likely cause a boost in the demand for PU microspheres in the near future. The growing demand for PU paints, which act as matting agents in wood finishes and architecture coating, is expected to boost the demand for PU microspheres in the paint & coating application segment.
The growing demand for an encapsulant in drug delivery and crop protection, increased application as a coating material in the architectural sector, and growth in repositionable adhesives are some of the major reasons anticipated to drive the market for the forecast period. The developments in research and technology in PU microspheres are anticipated to increase the range of applications for PU microspheres, leading to a boost to the global market demand.
Globally, the PU microspheres market is segmented into five regions: Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. In 2014, Asia Pacific accounted for the largest market share, followed by Europe and North America. Construction, electronics, and automotive are some of the major primary end-user industries driving the Asia Pacific market. The contribution from developing economies such as India and China has led Asia Pacific to maintain its dominance in the global market.
The paint & coating sector in growing economies is anticipated to be the fastest-growing end-user sector in Asia Pacific in the near future. The growth of the automotive sector in Asia Pacific is also anticipated to boost the demand for PU microspheres in the near future. The growing demand for powder coating for different applications in Asia Pacific is expected to generate high demand for PU microspheres in the region.
China is a major producer and consumer of PU microspheres. It accounts for the largest regional market share. The economic reforms in China in the past few years have led to it becoming one of the major suppliers in the region. Europe, being a large hub for the automotive industry, is anticipated to fuel the demand for PU microspheres for the forecast period. In 2014, the antimicrobial coating market in North America is expected to grow, boosting the demand for PU microspheres.
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Some of the players operating in the global market include Sanyo Chemical Industries, Ltd. MicroChem, Chase Corporation, Heyo Enterprise Co., Ltd., HOS-Technik GmbH, Supercolori S.p.A., Kolon Industries, Bayer AG, LLC, and Teledyne DALSA, Inc.
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