Elastomers are polymers that possess elasticity and viscosity along with weak intermolecular forces. The elastic property helps elastomers retain their original shape once the deforming force is removed. Monomers of elastomers contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and silicon. Together, these monomers form elastomeric polymers. Elastomers possess thermosetting as well as thermoplastic properties. Thermoplastic elastomers belong to the category of polymers that melt at a specific temperature. Thermosetting elastomers do not melt at high temperatures. Thermosetting elastomers are commonly known as high temperature elastomers. High temperature elastomers do not melt; these convert into gaseous state at high temperatures. High temperature elastomers are generally insoluble in common solvents such as water. The chemical inactiveness of high temperature elastomers makes them chemical resistant and anti-corrosive.
High temperature elastomers are widely used in the automobile and transportation industry in the form of tires, seat covers and other rubber products. Fluorosilicone elastomers, fluorocarbon elastomers, silicone elastomers and perfluorocarbon elastomers are some of the commonly used types of high temperature elastomers. These are also used as additives in other major industries such as electrical & electronics, industrial machinery, consumer goods, and health care.
Asia Pacific is witnessing rapid economic growth, primarily driven by the expanding construction industry. Increasing construction activities in Asia Pacific has fueled demand for high temperature elastomeric compounds. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for high temperature elastomers. Rising number of automobile manufacturing companies in the region has further boosted demand for high temperature elastomers. Economies such as China, Japan, South Korea and India are driving the demand for elastomers in Asia Pacific due to the presence of large number of electrical and electronics manufacturing companies. Asia Pacific is expected to account for two-fifth share of the global high temperature elastomers market. North America is the second-largest market for high temperature elastomers. Large investments across industries such as construction and building, health care and consumer goods is the major factor driving demand for high temperature elastomers in North America. The U.S. accounts for the largest share of the high temperature elastomers market in North America in terms of revenue and volume.
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The recession in 2009 affected the construction and automotive industries in Europe. However, the European countries are recovering rapidly from the economic downturn. This has boosted demand for elastomers in the region. Europe is one of the largest markets for automobile parts. This is likely to drive demand for high temperature elastomers. Moreover, the health care industry, especially in developed economies such as the U.K., Germany, France and Italy, is expected to boost demand for high temperature elastomers. Improving lifestyle and increasing infrastructural development in developing countries in the Rest of the World are propelling demand for high temperature elastomers. The elastomers market in countries in South America, such as Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Costa Rica, is expanding rapidly due to growth in health care, consumer goods and automobile manufacturing industries
Some of the key players in high temperature elastomers market are Wacker Chemie A.G., Momentive Performance Materials, Inc., E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company, Dow Corning Corporation and Solvay S.A.