Performance Fluorine Chemicals and Polymers
The performance fluorine chemical and polymer market reached nearly 2.4 billion pounds in 2003 and is expected to rise at an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 1.9% to nearly 2.7 billion pounds in 2009.
Organic fluorochemicals used in refrigerants and elsewhere, will grow from onebillion pounds to 1.09 billion pounds in 2009 at a 2.4% AAGR.
- Fluoropolymers will feature the fastest growth at an AAGR of 4.2%, reaching 272 million pounds in 2009.
- The market for inorganic fluorochemicals, used for fluoride water treatment and toothpaste, is depressed by stagnant or slow growth and will rise at only a 1.1% AAGR to about 1.3 billion pounds in 2009.
Among the barriers to growth are the full banning of CFCs and the phasing out of HCFCs in the U.S.
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:
- An overview of fluorochemicals and fluoropolymers
- Analysis of the U.S. markets for performance fluorine chemicals by compound, with forecasts through 2009
- Analysis of the U.S. markets by applications such as water fluoridation, dentistry, equipment, electrical and electronics manufacture, chemical processing, refrigeration, coatings and surface treatments, packaging and miscellaneous with forecasts through 2009
- Discussion of the chemistry and physicochemical properties of fluorochemicals and polymers, their syntheses and new technologies
- Analysis of public policy and other public issues
- Industry and market structure in the U.S. and company profiles.
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.
Performance fluorine chemicals and polymers are a large business in the United States. This is not surprising since they are virtually ubiquitous in our environment and infrastructure. This business also continues to grow, with total estimated sales in our base year of 2000 of more than $5.4 billion, consuming almost 1.9 billion pounds of chemical and polymeric materials. This market has grown from 1995, when BCC last reported on the subject; at that time the overall market was about 1.5 billion pounds valued at $3.75 billion in 1995 dollars.
Organic fluorochemicals, both aliphatic and aromatic have been dominated for years by aliphatic compounds, first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and now that CFCs are banned for most uses in the United States, by their replacement chemicals, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluoro-carbons (HFCs). These replacements have taken over the primary refrigerants market nicely, and are trying to replace CFCs in other important uses such as plastic-foam blowing. BCC predicts that organics will grow from 827 million pounds, valued at about $2.1 billion in 2000 to a billion pounds valued at about $2.5 billion in 2005.