Footwear or Automotive? Which industry should drive the Polyamide Elastomers Demand?

Footwear or Automotive? Which industry should drive the Polyamide Elastomers Demand?

With wide range of service temperature, Thermoplastic Polyamide (TPA) Elastomers possess excellent flexibility and resistance to oils & chemicals. These block polyamides have either ether or ester as a soft block and polyamide as a hard block. The combination of these hard and soft blocks gives polyamide elastomers the required rigidity and flexibility. The ratio of hard block and soft block segments used to make polyamide elastomer decides the rigidity and flexibility of a particular grade. Polyamide elastomers with high percentage of polyamide hard block, has lower flexibility and vice versa. Depending upon soft segments TPA can be named as Polyether block amide (PEBA), Copolyamide (COPA), Polyesteramide, Polyetheresteramide, or Polycarbonate esteramide. PEBA has a largest share in polyamide elastomer market and the most significant member in TPA market. As a soft block for TPA, polytetramethylene oxide (PTMO),polytetramethylene glycol (PTMG), polyethylene glycol (PEG), polypropylene glycol (PPG) and bisphenol-A are often used.

The global demand for polyamide elastomers is anticipated to around 5% between 2018 and 2025. The market witnessed a decline during the economic recession but bounced back to growth in 2010. As of 2017,Asia-Pacific constituted the largest regional demand accounting for around 41% of the market. Western Europe was the second largest market followed by North America.

Global TPA Demand, By Region- 2017

Global TPA Demand, By Region- 2017

Exceptional physical, mechanical and dynamic properties have increasingly solidified the position of TPAs in applications which require high flexibility and light weightiness. Polyether Block Amides(PEBA) are widely used in sporting applications where light weightiness, energy absorption and flexibility are of most importance. Flexibility along with resistance to chemicals and biocompatibility helps polyamide elastomer to be a best fit for medical applications. Breathable, Medical catheters and balloons(inserted in veins) are some of the examples where polyamide elastomers are being used in the medical & healthcare industry. The use of TPA has been categorized into wide spectrum of applications including automotive, medical, sporting goods, industrial, and others.

Major TPA manufacturers include Arkema withtrade name Pebax, Evonik (Vestamid E), UBE (Ubesta XPA) and EMS-Grivory(Griflex, Grilamid ELY & Griltech ELY).

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