Fluorine compounds are all around us and we use them every day. This despite that fact that most people do not know them as such, or at least did not know them until the end of the last century. This is when some controversies arose over chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and the ozone layer, some other perflourochemicals, and over water fluoridation. Fluorine itself chemically is a bit curious, as it is the most reactive halogen. Yet its most well-known compounds such as CFCs and fluoropolymers (nonstick frying pans, etc.) are best known and used because they are stable and inert.
Performance fluorine chemicals are important materials of commerce, and today have both commercial and political significance. Most of us drink fluorinated water and brush our teeth with fluorinated toothpaste. We drive air conditioned cars fueled by high-octane unleaded gasoline produced with the assistance of hydrogen fluoride (HF) catalyst. We cook with Teflon® coated frying pans and wear Gore-Tex® and other brand name weather-resistant outdoor clothing.
This BCC report describes the compounds and analyzes the markets for performance fluorine from three basic families: inorganic fluorochemicals, organic fluorochemicals and fluoropolymers. Many applications are quite small in volume, yet have fairly large dollar sales because they command high prices. Others are rather high-volume and could be considered commodities; however, they really do fill a performance function like, for example, hydrogen fluoride as a petroleum alkylation catalyst.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The report contains:
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
Extensive searches were made of the literature and the Internet, including many of the leading trade publications, and well as technical compendia, government publications, and information from trade and other associations. Much product and market information was obtained from principals involved in the industry. Other sources included textbooks, directories, articles, and Internet sites.
J. Charles Forman is a research analyst for BCC covering polymers and chemicals. His work in industry included 21 years at Abbott Laboratories in R&D and manufacturing management. Dr. Forman has researched and written more than 30 multiclient market research reports on a variety of subjects ranging from building construction materials, to several studies on plastic packaging. He has been with BCC for over 10 years. B.A., MIT; M.A. and Doctorate, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.