Phenol-formaldehyde Resin Market: Overview

Phenol formaldehyde resins (PF) are also known as phenolic resins. Formaldehyde forms −CH2− bridges between two phenol molecules, producing chains. Linear chains are obtained when the reaction ratio is 1:1. Phenol, however, may also react with a third formaldehyde molecule. Whenever this happens, a branch is formed in the chain. Phenol-formaldehyde resins are synthetic polymers that are obtained through the reaction of phenol or substituted phenol with formaldehyde.

Phenol-formaldehyde Resin Market: Key Segments

Based on production, phenol formaldehyde resins can be categorized into two types. These are called Novolacs and Resoles. Novolac resins are produced under acidic condition with excess phenol, while resol resins are produced under basic conditions with excess formaldehyde. Novolacs are phenol-formaldehyde resin with a formaldehyde to phenol molar ratio of less than one. The polymerization is brought to completion using acid catalysts such as oxalic acid, hydrochloric acid, or sulfonate acids. This method of production restricts the formaldehyde to the production of a prepolymer known as novolac, which can be moulded and then cured with the addition of more formaldehyde and heat. In the first method, phenol and formaldehyde react directly and produce a thermosetting network polymer. There are many variations in both production and input materials that are used to produce a wide variety of resins for special purposes.

Phenol-formaldehyde Resin Market: Drivers & Restraints

Phenol-formaldehyde resin was one of the earliest marketed synthetic polymers under the trade-name Bakelite. It has long been used as an insulator for switches and other electric devices. The presence of phenol groups gives phenol formaldehyde an unpleasant dark color. Phenol-formaldehyde resin happen sometimes to bind directly, without −CH2− bridges, forming condensed aromatic rings that are black in color and are responsible for darkening of many products, such as rotting fruit or white cloth yellowed by time. Phenol resin usage is declining nowadays because of competition from modern plastics. The small production still present is mainly of cheap, low-quality items such as pieces for games.

In terms of application, the global phenol-formaldehyde resin market can be segmented into laminates, insulation, molding compound, wood adhesives, and others. The most important application of phenol-formaldehyde resin is in the production of composite boards, such as plastic laminate. The boards comprise a relatively incoherent material pasted with a phenol resin acting as a glue. Composite boards are used mostly for workbench tops but may also have higher prized usages in floors, doors, parts of machines, and printed circuit boards.

Phenol-formaldehyde Resin Market: Regional Outlook

Based on region, the global phenol-formaldehyde resin market can be categorized into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominates the global phenol-formaldehyde resin market, followed by North America. The phenol-formaldehyde resin market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand during the forecast period due an increase in demand from the building and construction industry. The growth is mainly attributed to an increase in rates of industrialization and globalization across the globe. Demand for phenol-formaldehyde resin is also expected to increase from the automotive and electronics industries. China is anticipated to be a prominent country of the phenol-formaldehyde resin market, followed by other emerging economies in Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific is a dominant region of the phenol-formaldehyde resin market, owing to rapid urbanization in the region.

Phenol-formaldehyde Resin Market: Key Players

Key players in the global phenol-formaldehyde resin market include CIECH S.A., BASF SE, Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd., DIC Corporation, and Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 

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