The catalytic properties of metallocene and its derivatives have been making a huge stir in the global plastics industry in the past few decades. According to industry experts, metallocene catalysts are the next big thing to happen to the plastics industry since the invention of Ziegler-Natta catalysts in 1960s, which made the production of polypropylene and polyethylene easily controllable and inexpensive.
According to a recent market research report published by Transparency Market Research, the investments made for the development of the metallocene industry have accounted for a large portion of the overall R&D investments made in the polyolefins industry in the past few years. Metallocene-based polyolefins are expected to seize a major share in the global polymers market in the coming years.
TMR analysts provide detailed insights into the global metallocene technologies market, highlighting the major applications, drivers, and the factors making metallocene technologies crucial for the overall polyolefins market.
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Q. Which drivers are most prominently impacting the overall development of the global metallocene market?
A. The global metallocene technologies market is majorly driven by the rising demand for high-quality elastomers and polymers across many industries. Metallocene-based polymers are known to offer several wide-ranging advantages over conventional elastomers and thermoplastics. The rising research and development initiatives aimed at finding more effective metallocene derivatives and strengthening metallocene technologies are expected to drive the global market for metallocene technologies. Over the next few years, metallocene-based polymers are expected to gain nearly 10% of the overall thermoplastic and elastomers industry.
Q. What features differentiate metallocene-based polymers from conventional polymers made from technologies such as the Ziegler-Natta technology?
A. Polymers made from the metallocene catalysts have much higher molecular weight than the polymers made from the Ziegler-Natta technology. Metallocene-based polymers are known to have features such as increased toughness and impact strength, better melt properties, and improved clarity in films.
Metallocene catalysts are known to have the capability of independently controlling polymer characteristics such as molecular weight and its distribution, comonomer content and its distribution, and tacticity. As the catalysts can lead to the development of polymers with well characterized molecular structures, extremely uniform physical properties can be granted to the polymer. Metallocene technologies have helped in the production of extremely tough polymers, which are used across applications such as bulletproof glasses and bulletproof vests.
Q. What are the key application areas of metallocene technologies?
A. Some of the earliest applications of metallocene technologies were in specialty markets where value-added and high cost polymers could compete. However, as the technologies developed with time and the costs of metallocene catalysts decreased, metallocene-based polymers started competing in the broader market for plastics.
Presently, metallocene-based polymers find applications in a number of industries, including packaging, medicines, cables, agriculture, and safety products. Of these, the flexible non-food packaging is the largest application area, accounting for over 35% of the overall global metallocene demand. The segment of shrink/stretch film accounts for the second largest application segment, garnering over 27% of the total global demand for metallocene resins in 2014.
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