The global composite industry has been expanding significantly in terms of production, technological advancements, and developments. Thermoset resin plays a vital role in the composite industry. Thermoset resins are used extensively in the manufacture of composites; these resins are employed in the fabrication of products for end-use industries such as aerospace, automotive, sporting goods, construction, electronics, and wind energy. The thermoset resin market can be segmented into six resin types: polyester resin, epoxy resin, vinyl ester resin, phenolic, polyurethane, and high temperature resins (such as cyanate ester).
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Thermoset resins exhibit characteristics such as mechanical strength, corrosion resistance, and low weight. These resins are used widely in various applications. Thermoset resins form long polymer chains and can be easily customized as per the requirements of end products. Thermoset resins offer many advantages. These include balance of numerous properties such as mechanical & chemical stability and dimensional stability; low cost; and easy processing, and handling. The vinyl ester resin segment accounts for significant share of the thermoset resin market. Vinyl ester resins are less susceptible to damage caused by hydrolysis. Therefore, these resins are used in the manufacture of corrosion-resistant containers such as fiberglass tanks and FRP pipes. Vinyl ester resins are also employed in grating applications.
The epoxy resin segment also holds key share of the thermoset resin market. Epoxy resins are used in various applications; for instance, they are employed in coatings, adhesives & composite materials, and fiberglass reinforcements. Epoxy coating dries quickly; hence, it provides a strong and durable protective coating with excellent abrasion resistance. It can also be applied for corrosion protection of steel pipes and fittings, which are employed in the hydrocarbon industry. Phenolic resins emit less amount of smoke and have lower toxicity levels as compared to other thermoset resins. Phenolic thermoset resins are primarily used in the manufacture of aircraft interiors and galley walls. These resins are also employed in other commercial markets that require flame resistant and low smoke properties. Polyurethane thermoset resins exhibit wide range of hardness, stiffness, and density. Thus, these resins are used in the manufacture of seats, headrests, armrests, dashboards, headliners, and instrument panels. Polymer resins undergo the curing chemical reaction to form three-dimensional cross-linked structures, which are generally known as thermoset resins.
After curing, polymer resins tend to form a rigid cross-linked structure due to the better physical properties as compared to other resins. Exposure of polymer resins to a high radiation source is another way of initiating the curing process. Thermoset resins are generally found in the form of liquids or molding powders. Composite materials can be formed by reinforcing cured resins with polymer fibers that exhibit excellent properties vis-à-vis conventional polymers.
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Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and North America are the major regions of the global thermoset resin market. Rising demand for specialized composite materials is driving the global thermoset resin market. Key drivers of the thermoset resin market include performance benefits of reinforced composites over rival materials and increase in demand for lightweight materials. Thermoset resins cannot be re-processed or recycled in their original form, neither can they be decomposed naturally; hence, environmental concerns are the major restraints of the thermoset resin market. The usage of thermoset resin in the aerospace industry is increasing significantly. This is likely to propel the thermoset resin market in the near future.
In terms of revenue, the thermoset resin market is projected to reach more than US$ 15 Bn by the end of 2022 at a CAGR of over 5%. This indicates the vast potential of the global thermoset resin market.
Prominent players operating in the global thermoset resin market are AEP Industries, Teijin Chemicals, DuPont Corporation, American Packaging Corporation, North American Pipe Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, Reliance Industries Ltd., Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co., National Petrochemical Company (NPC), and GAIL (India). Opportunities and applications of thermoset resin in various industries are projected to significantly drive the market in the near future.