An oxide is a binary compound combined with an electropositive element or a group. Propylene, which is a colorless gas, belongs to the alkene group. It is obtained by thermal cracking of ethylene and has a faint odor similar to petroleum. Propylene oxide is a chemical compound of propylene and oxygen. It is organic and behaves as a chemical intermediate in various chemical synthesis processes. Propylene oxide with chemical formula of CH3CHCH2O is a colorless, volatile liquid and highly flammable substance. It immediately evaporates from dry surfaces, while it is moderately volatile on wet surfaces. Propylene oxide reacts with compounds having active hydrogen atoms (amines or acids) to form chemical intermediaries, which are used in many end-use industries.
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The global propylene oxide market is primarily driven by the increase in demand for propylene oxide in various end-use industries such as automotive, construction & furniture, footwear, and packaging. Polyurethanes, which possess wide characteristics of hardness, rigidity, and density, are manufactured from polyether polyols. Propylene oxide is primarily used as an intermediate to produce polyether polyols. Polyurethanes are widely used in furniture, flooring materials, automobile seating, bedding, carpet underlay, and thermal industries. Therefore, rise in demand for propylene oxide is anticipated to boost the market. Increase in consumption of products which produced using propylene glycols, polyalkylene glycols, and propylene glycol ethers is also expected to propel the propylene oxide market.
Rise in disposable income of consumers and rapid industrialization are estimated to drive the demand for furniture and interior goods, ultimately leading to high demand for propylene oxide and its derivatives. Expansion in the medical sector and rapid technological advancements are projected to offer lucrative opportunities to the propylene oxide market. However, volatility in prices of feedstock and regulations against transportation of propylene oxide are likely to hamper market growth.
Based on production process, the propylene oxide market can be divided into chlorohydrin process, styrene monomer process, TBA co-product process, hydrogen peroxide process, and cumene-based process. The chlorohydrin process segment holds significant share of the propylene oxide market. The chlorohydrin process is a reaction between propylene and chlorine atoms in the presence of water. This process is followed by dehydrochlorination to produce propylene oxide and salt.
In terms of application, the propylene oxide market can be segmented into polyether polyols, propylene glycols, propylene glycol ethers, and others. The polyether polyols segment accounts for key share of the propylene oxide market owing to the rise in usage in the production of polyurethanes. Demand for polyurethanes is high in automobile, construction, textile, and packaging industries. Others application segment includes flame retardants, fumigants, textile surfactants, and modified starch.
Based on end-use industry, the propylene oxide market can be segregated into automotive, building & construction, chemical & pharmaceutical, electronics, packaging, textile & furnishing, and others. Expansion in the building & construction industry is estimated to the boost the propylene oxide market. Propylene oxide is used extensively in adhesives, sealants, paints, grouts, waterproofing materials, and coatings.
In terms of geography, the propylene oxide market can be split into North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. The market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand rapidly due to the easy availability of raw materials in countries such as China, Japan, and India. North America and Europe also hold significant share of the market owing to the increase in demand for propylene oxide in automobile and construction sectors.
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Key players operating in the global propylene oxide market include The Dow Chemical Company, BASF SE, Huntsman Corporation, Lyondellbasell Industries Holdings, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., and Sumitomo Chemicals Co.
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