Insoluble Sulfur: Introduction
- Insoluble sulfur is amorphous form of sulfur made from heat-polymerizing of sulfur. It can also be obtained by reacting sulfurated hydrogen with sulfur dioxide. It is a macromolecule polymer, and there are several thousands of sulfur atoms in its molecular chains. It does not dissolve in carbon disulfide; therefore, it is called insoluble sulfur or polymeric sulfur.
- Insoluble sulfur is an important rubber additive agent. It improves product quality, wearability, and resistance to fatigue and aging. In addition to being universally recognized as the best vulcanizing agent, it is widely used in the manufacture of tire, rubber pipe, shoes, cable and wire insulating materials, latex, and all kinds of automobile rubber parts. It is also a vital component of belt tires.
- Insoluble sulfur is primarily used in the rubber industry. Therefore, insoluble sulfur is widely used in the manufacture of radial rubber and other synthetic rubber products due to its non-blooming characteristic. It is also used in light-colored rubber products.
Key Drivers and Restraints of Insoluble Sulfur Market
- Insoluble sulfur is largely used in the tire industry. Demand for convenient and low-maintenance tire replacements has been rising due to the growing number of on-road vehicles across the globe. Tire manufacturers across the globe are under intense pressure from regulators and consumers to develop more fuel-efficient tires, while also facing technological challenges in order to gain a competitive edge in the highly competitive market. Increase in usage of insoluble sulfur to convert raw rubber into complete rubber at high heat to improve the strength and flexibility of the rubber is a major factor that is expected to drive the global insoluble sulfur market during the forecast period.
- Insoluble sulfur can increase the resistance of all forms of rubber products to fatigue and aging. Furthermore, it is used as an ideal vulcanizing agent for rubber. It is also widely used in the manufacture of rubber chemistry such as tires, rubber pipes, shoes, cables and wires, insulation materials, latex, and all kinds of automotive rubber parts. Rise in demand for insoluble rubber in various applications in the rubber industry is expected to drive the global insoluble sulfur market in the near future.
Insoluble Sulfur: Grade Segment
- In terms of grade, the global insoluble sulfur market can be divided into regular grade, high stability grade, special grade, and high dispersion grade
- The regular grade segment is projected to hold major share of the global insoluble sulfur market during the forecast period. Regular grade insoluble sulfur comprises zero additive mixtures and is commercially considered as the most important form of insoluble sulfur.
- The high dispersion grade segment is projected to follow the regular grade segment during the forecast period. Requirement for high dispersion grade is projected to rise due to its high level of thermal stability and advanced characteristics. It typically contains less insoluble sulfur than the other grades and is made up of polymers such as various dispersing agents, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM. High demand for tires, rubber pipes, shoes, and cable and wire insulating materials is driving the global insoluble sulfur market.
Insoluble Sulfur: Application Segment
- Based on application, the global insoluble sulfur market can be segmented into tire manufacturing, footwear, industrial, and others
- The tire manufacturing segment is projected to gain higher share of the global market during the forecast period. Tire manufacturers rely on insoluble sulfur formulators, as it is a critical feedstock in the production of high-quality performance tires. Rise in number of applications from tire manufacturing industry, increase in number of on-road vehicles across the globe, growth of the automotive and manufacturing sector, and rapid global industrialization are some of the major factors driving the global insoluble sulfur market.
- The footwear segment is also projected to hold key share of the global insoluble sulfur market in the near future. Demand for insoluble sulfur in the footwear value chain is likely to rise during the forecast period, with changing consumer preferences and innovation across the global footwear industry.
COVID-19 Impact on Insoluble Sulfur Market
- On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Originating in China, the virus has spread to at least 214 countries and territories around the world.
- Several governments and private sector businesses are operating at a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely due to recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
- Manufacture of various consumer goods and other products across the globe came to a halt due to the unavailability of raw materials, shortage of labor, etc. This is expected to hamper the insoluble sulfur market.
Asia Pacific to Hold Leading Share of Insoluble Sulfur Market
- In terms of region, the insoluble sulfur market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- Asia Pacific is expected to hold major share of the global insoluble sulfur market, followed by Europe and North America, during the forecast period. Rapid growth of the rubber manufacturing industry in emerging economies including India, Japan, China, and South Korea; availability of low-cost and skilled laborers; easy regulatory standards; and positive employment activities with economically strong nations are key factors driving the insoluble sulfur market in the region.
- The insoluble sulfur market in Europe and North America is projected to expand at a rapid pace in the near future. In North America, the market in the U.S. has gained traction, with rapid import of rubber from China, Germany, Thailand, and Japan. This is expected to boost the demand for insoluble sulfur in North America.
Key Manufacturers Operating in Insoluble Sulfur Market
The insoluble sulfur market was consolidated in 2020. Major players have prominent presence in developed and developing countries. Key manufacturers operating in the insoluble sulfur market include:
- Nynas AB
- Eastman Chemical Company
- Lions Industries s.r.o
- Shikoku Chemicals Corporation
- Henan Kailun Chemical Co., Ltd.
- Luoyang Sunrise Industrial
- Oriental Carbon and Chemicals Limited
- Sennics Co. Ltd.
- Weifang Jiahong Chemical Co. Ltd.
- Shanghai Shangyi Chemical Technology Co. Ltd.
- LANXESS Deutschland GmbH
Insoluble Sulfur: Research Scope
Insoluble Sulfur Market, by Grade
- Regular Grade
- High Stability Grade
- Special Grade
- High Dispersion Grade
Insoluble Sulfur Market, by Application
- Tire Manufacturing
Global Insoluble Sulfur Market, by Region
- North America
- Russia & CIS
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Middle East & Africa
- South Africa
- Rest of Middle East & Africa