Adipic acid is important aliphatic dicarboxilic acid, generally derived from cyclohexane. Other routes of adipic acid production are from cyclohexene and ketone alcohol (KA) Oil. Adipic acid is an important raw material which is reacted with hexamethylene diamine (HMDA) to produce polyamide 66 fibres and engineering plastic resins. Adipic acid is used in applications such as polyamide 6,6 fibres, polyamide 6,6 engineering plastics & films, plasticizers, polyurethanes, pharmaceuticals, food additives and others.
More than 50% of Adipic acid is globally consumed for the production of Polyamide 66. The shift of exports can be seen in adipic acid market where China is leading the export market due to several capacity additions in the last 10 years. China started significant export of adipic acid in 2010 and became net exporter in 2012. Starting from 31 kilo tons of exports in 2010, now china exports around 300 kilo tons of adipic acid to the world. This demographic shift of export has also led to some capacity rationalization in the U.S where Invista closed its adipic acid plant situated at Orange, Texas in 2015.
The main use of Adipic acid is for Nylon 6,6 resins and fibres with much lesser amount going into polyester polyols used in polyurethanes and into Adipic acid esters, which serves as a specialty plasticizers. Nylon 6,6 yarns are used in carpet yarn, home furnishing, apparel, and tire cord. Carpet yarn is the major use, particularly for non-staining carpets. Other fiber uses are in finishing lines, brush bristles, parachutes, and backpacks. Nylon 6, 6 accounts for the largest share for adipic acid and it is expected to continue to remain in the long-term forecast. Globally, higher production of industrial & textile fibres and carpet is likely to push the demand for adipic acid. Improvement in the global automotive production and housing market alongwith consumer spending is further likely to push the demand northwards in the short and mid-term forecast
The global adipic acid market is forecast to grow between 2% to 2.5% in the long-term forecast till 2025 as demand from Asian countries especially China where it is estimated to grow in line with the GDP growth in the short and long-term forecast.