Epoxy resins are well known adhesives that can be used to solder two substances and are also used as surface coatings. Epoxy resins are semi-polymeric or polymeric materials which are generally made up of two epoxide groups. Epoxy resins, which are also known as Polyepoxides, can be classified based on their molecular weight and can grouped into either low molecular weight pre-polymers, or higher molecular weight polymers. Raw materials required for manufacturing epoxy resins are largely derived from petroleum naphtha. Epoxy resin is cross linked with a wide range of hardeners using a process known as catalytic ‘Homopolymerization’, thus forming a thermosetting polymer with high chemical and temperature resistance and strong mechanical properties. Depending upon the hardener used, epoxy resins can be reinforced with properties such as flexibility, color, rigidity, water resistance, and curing time.
Waterborne epoxy resin coatings have been in production since the last 40 years, and serve as an eco-friendly alternative to solvent-borne epoxy resins in economies that have strict environmental and worker safety legislations. Their consumption increased considerably in order to reduce the emission of organic solvents. The waterborne epoxy resins have peculiar features and hence, they can be used for numerous applications such as textiles, automotive, packaging, furniture, and construction. They have excellent chemical and physical characteristics such as good thermal and electrical resistance, non-crystalline thermosets with good tensile strength, toughness, and adhesiveness coupled with reasonable cost and excellent formulating versatility. Waterborne epoxy resins find a wide range of applications in their materials of choice for a range of bonding, protective coatings, and structural applications. Extensive research and development is being done to find out cost effective applications of waterborne epoxy resins in the root-canal treatment for binding purposes. Durcupan, waterborne epoxy resin is used in the construction of an embedding electron microscope sample in plastic which can be divided with a microtome so as to get a magnified image. Waterborne epoxy resins provide excellent matrix gelling in fiber reinforced composites and hence, are used as coating for fibers. The construction and automotive industries are two major application segments of the waterborne epoxy resins. Due to the rapidly growing manufacturing sector and continued industrialization, Asia Pacific has become a frontrunner in the consumption of waterborne epoxy resins and this dominance is projected to continue during the forecast period. A majority of the demand for waterborne epoxy resins in Asia Pacific exists in China, followed by Japan. The high growth in this region is mainly driven by numerous favorable investment policies, increasing population in developed as well as developing economies, and government schemes to promote industrial growth. Consumption is increasing gradually in Taiwan and South Korea. Growth in the consumption rate of waterborne epoxy resins in composites, adhesives, and coatings applications have been on the rise in the U.S. Coatings industry also serves as one of the largest application segments of waterborne epoxy resins followed by adhesives. Construction is projected to be the fastest growing application segment during the forecast period. The market in Europe is lagging behind and its consumption growth rate is well below the average market growth rate. Factors such as consolidation of the industry along with innovation and continuous growth are expected to translate into substantial growth for the waterborne epoxy resin industry.
Key market players in the manufacturing of waterborne epoxy resins are Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Kukdo Chemicals Co. Ltd, The DOW Chemical Company, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, Allnex Belgium NV/SA, Huntsman Corporation, Aditya Birla Chemicals Company, Reichhold Industries, Inc., and Hexion Inc.
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