Bio-plasticizers are those polymer additives that possess lesser chemical effects and better bio-degradability. Generally, a plasticizer is defined as polymer additive that helps in increasing the polymer’s flexibility, elongation or simplicity of processing (workability). Plasticizers are typically inactive organic materials with low vapor pressures and high boiling points. Usually, esters are used due to their favorable physical interactions with high-molecular-weight (HMW) polymers. This physical interaction results in the formation of homogeneous physical unit from the polymer and plasticizer. In other words, they do not separate out.
The applications of bio-plasticizers can be seen in printing inks for jet printers, dentures, surface coatings for polymers, biodegradable film and foam, cigarette filter, food wraps, osmotic membrane, flame retarding plasticizer, photographic film base, flame retardant in sheeting, moldings and coatings, magnetic tape produced between 1935 and 1960, varnishes, safety glass, eyewear frames, scotch tape, paper laminate, etc.
Use of biodegradable additives in PVC is responsible for higher intensity of sales of bio-plasticizers. Plasticization of PVC provides far greater profits because PVC would be of little use without the wide range of additives available. The development of PVC as a commercially used polymer is connected to the development of additives used in the plasticization process. The improvement of bio-plasticizers is driven by growing consumer perception and limited supply of harmful phthalate. When phthalate plasticizers are in direct contact with bodily fluids, they have been found to be a health concern. Since they are readily miscible in organic solvents like saliva and plasma, there is a chance of ingesting or absorbing them during common medical procedures. It is believed that once they are absorbed, they get stored in the fatty tissue of humans and thus, can be disturbing to the development of embryo or fetus. Hence, Eco-friendly bio-based plasticizers for food packaging material, consumer goods and medical products are being developed due to ban on phthalate-based plasticizers.
Based on varying applications, bio-plasticizers market can be segmented into : medical devices, wires & cables, packaging materials, building & construction, consumer goods, etc. Bio-plasticizers market can be segmented into various groups depending on the type of additive present in that bio-plasticizer. Some examples of additives used are as follows : acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), acrylics, bromobutyl rubber, butyl terpolymer, cellulose acetate, etc.
Because of successful segments such as consumer and chemicals goods, medical devices, North America currently stands at the top of the bio-plasticizers market. Europe is expected to be in the developed bio-plasticizers markets. It is supposed that growth in healthcare and manufacturing industry results in North America and Europe accounting for a higher bio-plasticizers market share. Developed regions have increasing demand of bio-plasticizers because regulatory authorities have made numerous efforts to push for environmental friendly products. Middle East & Africa bio-plasticizers market are still at an emerging stage. But emerging countries like UAE and Brazil are supposed to have a substantial share in the bio-plasticizers market pretty soon. Asia Pacific is expected to be the quickest growing bio-plasticizers market in terms of market share by value, particularly in wires & cables, medical and packaging materials applications.
Some of the key players in the global bio-plasticizers market are Dow Chemical Company, Bioamber Inc., Vertellus Specialties Inc., Danisco Inc., Solvay S.A., Polyone Corporation, Emery Oleochemicals LLC, Myriant Corporation, Evonik Industries, Matrica Spa, Lanxess Ag.
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