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Opaque polymers are pigments with hollow spheres. They are opaque. Opaque polymers are specially engineered for usage in paints and coatings in order to improve the latter’s hiding properties and whiteness. Usage of opaque polymers in paints and coatings formulations help improve the optical properties of paint formulations. Opaque polymers consist of emulsions in the form of spherical styrene or acrylic beads. These are filled with water for usage in wet paints. When the paints get dry, water from these beads permanently diffuses, and is replaced by air.
This results in a uniform dry paint film, with uniform distribution of voids. Opaque polymers help in filling up and hiding the gaps in paints and coatings. Addition of more titanium dioxide (TiO2) is generally encountered in the paints & coatings industry to compensate for gaps. However, it is an inefficient and costly measure with diminishing returns. It helps improve the light scattering properties of paints and coatings. Usage of opaque polymers in paints and coatings brings about an overall cost efficiency in formulations. Usage of opaque polymers also helps lower the usage of TiO2, while maintaining the opacity of paints and coatings.
Furthermore, use of opaque polymers in the production of paints and coatings provides them with benefits such as improved resistance to dirt, tint retention, and film durability. Opaque polymers are being extensively employed in formulations of water based as well as solvent based paints and coatings. However, substitutes such as flash calcined kaolin are competing technologies for opaque polymers. They provide the users with several benefits over opaque polymers. At equal volume concentration in high PVC emulsion paints, flash calcined kaolin provides better opacity than opaque polymers. Furthermore, comparatively less volume of flash calcined kaolin is required to match the opacity of opaque polymers. Thus, substituting technologies such as calcined kaolin are anticipated to provide tough competition to the opaque polymers market during the forecast period.
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Based on product type, the market for opaque polymers can be segmented into solid content 40% and solid content 30%. Currently, the solid content 30% segment dominates the opaque polymers market. The segment is anticipated to continue its dominance during the forecast period. The segment is expected to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period.
Based on end-use industry, the opaque polymers market can be divided into personal & home care and paints & coatings. Currently, the paints & coatings segment leads the opaque polymers market. The segment is anticipated to continue its dominance during the forecast period. It is estimated to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period. Paints & coatings as well as personal & home care industries are projected to expand rapidly in the near future, especially in Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe. This, in turn, is likely to fuel the demand for opaque polymers during the forecast period.
Geographically, the market for opaque polymers is expected to expand significantly in Asia Pacific due to the rapid industrialization and growth in infrastructure in countries such as Japan, India, and China. The economic development in these countries is also driving the demand for opaque polymers in end-user industries. Asia Pacific holds major share of the opaque polymers market. The region is anticipated to continue its dominance during the forecast period.
Major players operating in the opaque polymers market include Croda International, The Dow Chemical Company, Arkema, Interpolymer Corporation, Indulor Chemie, Junneng Chemicals, Hankuck, Latices, En-Tech Polymer, Organik Kimya, Ashland, and Visen Industries.
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