Polymer resins, which on undergoing a chemical reaction (process of curing), form three-dimensional cross-linked structures, are generally known as thermoset resins. On account of their rigid cross-linked structure after the curing process, thermosetting resins exhibit better physical properties than thermoplastic resins. The heating process introduces irreversible chemical curing reactions. Exposure to a high radiation source is another way of initiating the curing process. Thermoset resins are usually liquids or in the form of molding powders. However these materials are brittle in nature because of immobility of molecules. Cured resin can be reinforced with fibers or any other reinforcing materials to produce composites of excellent properties as compare to conventional polymers, hence thermoset resins have wide range of applications.
Polyester, phenol-formaldehyde (PF), polyurethane (PU), urea-formaldehyde (UF), epoxy resin and vinyl ester resin are some of the most prominent thermoset resins used in various industry segments.. Owing to their unique properties, thermoset resins can be used for a variety of applications in various industries. Polyester finds applications in construction, transportation, consumer products, ship building, automotive and others. Epoxy is used in paint and coatings, electronics, adhesives, composites, automotive etc. PF has applications as molding powder, plywood, laminates insulations and others. PU is widely used as foam material in construction, automotive and electronics. Currently UF has demand in wood based composites, laminates, adhesives and others. Vinyl ester is major matrix material for composite manufacturing which is used in transportation and infrastructure. According to geographic regions thermoset resins have demand in Asia-Pacific, North America, South America Europe and RoW.
One of the major driving factors for this market is growing demand for composite material. Thermoset resins are widely used as matrix material in composite manufacturing. However these materials cannot be re-processed or recycled in the same form and hence growing environmental concerns can restrict the market. The use of thermoset resins in aerospace is expected to grow significantly in the near future and this is expected to boost product sales.
AEP Industries, American Packaging Corporation, Teijin Chemicals, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co., North American Pipe Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, Reliance Industries Ltd., National Petrochemical Company (NPC), DuPont Corporation and GAIL (India) Limited are some of the leading manufacturers for thermoset resins.
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