Acrylic acid a pungent smelling, colorless liquid, is mainly used as raw material for production of acrylic resins, acrylates and super absorbent polymers. Acrylic acid also finds host of applications in dispersants, flocculants, thickening agents, and adhesives, etc. It is miscible with ethers, water, alcohols and chloroform. Acrylates are mainly employed into the manufacturing of homo or co-polymers such as methyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, 2-ethyl-hexyl acrylate, etc. Acrylic acid on reacting with its own esters produces poly acrylic acid and monomers such as vinyl, butadiene, styrene, or acrylonitrile.
Glacial acrylic acid is a key feedstock material used in manufacturing super absorbent polymers (SAP), which is used in the manufacture of personal healthcare and disposable hygiene products such as baby diapers, sanitary napkins, and adult protective underwear. Rapid growth of super absorbent polymers market is expected to trigger market demand for acrylic acid. Moreover, increasing demand for acrylic adhesives in high-end applications that require high shear and tensile strength along with shock absorbent characteristics is expected to propel the demand for acrylic acid in the years to come. However, highly volatile prices of raw material and increasingly stringent environmental regulations are expected to restrain growth of the acrylic acid market. Consequently, manufacturers are expected to shift their focus on development of bio-based acrylic acid, which is expected to open new growth opportunities for acrylic acid manufacturers.
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Acrylate esters are typically used in surface coatings followed by adhesives and sealants, plastic additives and textiles. Acrylate esters accounted for over 51% of the total acrylic acid consumed in 2012. However, acrylate esters are expected to lose their market share to glacial acrylic acid and other derivatives during the forecast period. Glacial acrylic acid was the second largest derivative of acrylic acid and is mainly used in manufacturing super absorbent polymers and poly acrylic acid. Other key derivatives of acrylic acid include ammonium poly acrylate and cyano poly acrylate and collectively accounted for over 4% of the total demand for acrylic acid derivatives in 2012.
Asia Pacific is expected to remain the leading market for acrylic acid in terms of demand and is expected to command 47.0% share of the total volume consumption in 2018. The demand for acrylic acid in Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.0% from 2013 to 2019. Asia Pacific is also expected to be the fastest growing region over the next six years, due to the rapidly growing construction industry in emerging economies such as China, India and South Korea. North America was the second largest market for acrylic acid followed by Europe, in 2012.
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Acrylic acid market exhibits a high degree of forward integration. Most of the acrylic acid manufacturers across the world are also involved in manufacturing its downstream products such as acrylate esters, glacial acrylic acid, etc. The global market for acrylic acid was dominated by large multinationals such as BASF SE and Dow Chemicals which accounted for 18.6% and 9.1%, respectively, of the total acrylic acid market in 2012. Other key industry participants include StoHaas Monomer, Rohm and Haas, Formosa Plastics, Nippon Shokubai, etc.
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