Functional fillers are materials that are added to a polymer formulation in order to either lower the compound cost or improve physical and chemical properties. These materials can be solid, liquid, or gaseous. If selected properly, the fillers can not only improve economics, but also enhance other properties such as mechanical and processing behavior. Fillers retain their inherent characteristics; however, the final polymer formulation often has significant differences, depending upon the compounding technique, molecular weight, and the presence of other additives in the formulation. Functional fillers are extensively used in plastics. High usage of fillers in plastics can be attributed to various factors. For example, fillers help plastic materials achieve a much wider range of properties, including properties not generally associated with plastics such as high electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity. Functional fillers can also be employed to reinforce plastics. For instance, fillers such as talc and glass fiber are used to manufacture reinforced plastics.
Functional fillers are employed extensively in plastics due to the increase in usage of plastics in the automotive industry. This is encouraging companies to invest more in research and development of new fillers. In turn, this is anticipated to drive the functional fillers market in the near future. Furthermore, rise in demand for lightweight plastic materials in various industries is estimated to boost the demand for functional fillers during the forecast period.
Companies operating in the global functional fillers market strive to explore new and better ways to manufacture functional fillers. Development of new processes to produce functional fillers is estimated to propel the market in the near future. However, volatility in prices of raw materials is projected to hamper the functional fillers market during the forecast period.
In terms of type, the functional fillers market can be divided into inert fillers, reinforcing fillers, rubbery fillers, and fibrous fillers. The reinforcing fillers segment is estimated to expand at a rapid pace in the next few years due to the rise in need for lightweight plastic materials in developing economies such as China, India, and Brazil.
Based on end-use industry, the functional fillers market can be segmented into automotive, building & construction, manufacturing, and others. The automotive segment is projected to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period due to the consistent use of functional fillers in manufacture of automotive parts across the globe.
In terms of region, the global functional fillers market can be segregated into North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific and North America are anticipated to constitute major share of the global market during the forecast period. The functional fillers market in Asia Pacific is likely to expand at a significant pace due to the rise in per capita income in developing economies such as China and India. Increase in per capita income is boosting the spending power of consumers. This, in turn, is estimated to propel the demand for high quality products in Asia Pacific. Additionally, growth in usage of functional fillers in manufacture of construction materials is fueling the functional fillers market in the region. Middle East & Africa is expected to be a lucrative region of the global functional fillers market during the forecast period, led by the rise in demand for functional fillers in the manufacture of automotive components in the region.
Prominent players operating in the global functional fillers market include Imerys company, Lehmann&Voss&Co., Huber Engineered Materials, and Hoffmann group. These players engage in research & development activities, strategic alliances, and mergers & acquisitions to gain market share.
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