Styrene-butadiene latexes are stable emulsions which come from the families of synthetic rubbers derived from styrene and butadiene. SB latex and SBR latex exhibits good aging stability and abrasion resistance when protected by additives. SB latex and SBR latex are high-solids latexes which are segmented based on their styrene content. SBR latex is more elastomeric and has low styrene content, while SB latex acts like a plastic, having higher styrene content. SBR latex products are widely used in the paper & paperboard industries for pigmented/coated paper and carpet backcoatings. In the overall market for synthetic latex, SB latex accounts for the larger share. SBR latex being the smaller segment is used for molded foams and adhesives. Other synthetic latex such as styrene-butadiene (SB) vinylpyridine terpolymers represents a minimal portion which is used in tire cord treatments.
The global market for synthetic-butadiene latex is highly fragmented, with more than 50 manufacturers present in the industry. Large scale corporations such as Styron/Trinseo and BASF SE together dominate the industry for styrene-butadiene latex. Owing to low overall growth and high fragmentation of the market, further rationalization of the supply chain management as well as rationalization in the production capacity is expected in the near future. The global demand for styrene-butadiene latex has been growing at a medium pace over the past few years. Demand for SB latex was the largest from the paper coatings industry, where products such as carboxylated SB latex accounts for the most preferred synthetic pigment binder for coated papers. The coatings based on SB latex offer enhanced pigment binding and high coating speed which leads to high gloss level, brightness, smoothness, opacity and water resistance at lower costs than its alternatives. SB latex products are significantly used in coated printing papers such as advertising flyers, label stock, annual reports, magazines and catalogues. Other applications of SB latex include coated paperboard products such as folding cartons used in the food packaging industry.
In addition to optimizing stiffness, glueability, and improving ink and varnish performance, the latex uniformly enhances the print performance as well as brightness. Styrene-butadiene latexes are also used for saturating paper for manufacturing specialty papers and boards to gain resistance to petroleum or grease, or to enhance strength at high temperatures. These saturated papers & paperboards are widely used for masking tape, containers, gaskets, book covers and various sandpapers.
Other prominent applications of SB latex include backcoatings in tufted carpets. These coatings hold the tufts in place and anchor the pile fibers which provide improved resistance and stability to tuft loss at the edges of the carpet. The latex serves as the laminating adhesive mainly for a secondary backing such as polypropylene, but also functions as the actual support on some carpets. The content in SB latex products, styrene-butadiene varies depending upon the physical characteristics in the final product. Significant number of carpets manufactured in the U.S. is tufted, where most of the industry is concentrated in southeastern states such as Georgia, where several SB latex manufacturing facilities are located.
Developed regions such as Europe accounted for the largest market share in terms of consumption in the overall market for styrene-butadiene latexes, followed by Asia Pacific and North America. In the Western European region, Belgium serves the production hub for carpet industry, followed by the Netherlands.
BASF SE, Styron Europe GmbH, The Dow Chemical Company, and Zeon are some of key manufacturers in styrene-butadiene latexes market.
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