Crosslinking is a chemical process of bonding links between polymer chains. The polymer chains can be referred to as synthetic polymers or natural polymers. The bond may be ionic or covalent bond. In a majority of cases, the crosslink is a covalent structure. When crosslinks are added to polymers, they lose the ability to move as individual polymer chains. Crosslinking is employed for both biological sciences and synthetic polymer chemistry. In synthetic polymers, the term ’crosslink’ usually refers to promote a difference in the polymers’ physical and mechanical properties. The modification of properties depends on crosslink density. When the crosslink density is low, it decreases the viscosities of polymer melts, a high density crosslink causes material to become very rigid and an intermediate density crosslink give polymers an elastomeric property and high strength. A liquid polymer can be turned into gel or solid by crosslinking. Crosslinked polymers are mechanically strong and resistant to wear, heat, and solvent attacks. The vulcanization of rubber utilizing sulfur is an example of crosslinking. The raw rubber is converted to a highly resilient elastomer. When crosslinks are added to rubber molecules, the melting point and hardness increases and the flexibility decreases.
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The crosslinking agent market has been segmented on the basis of chemistry, application, and region. In terms of chemistry, the crosslinking agent market has been segmented into polycarbodiimide, polyisocyanate, polyaziridine, and others (amine, amino, and amide). A crosslinking agent should have characteristics such as good chemical resistance, good compatibility, VOC free, no gas developments, long pot life, and should be easy to use. The polyisocyanate crosslinking agent segment holds a major share of the crosslinking agent market due to its various applications as coatings in automotive, appliances, decorative, packaging, and industrial wood coating.
In terms of applications, the crosslinking agent market has been segmented into industrial coatings and decorative coatings. Crosslinking in coatings improves chemical resistance, appearance, and mechanical durability. Industrial coatings with crosslinking agents enhance color and corrosion resistance. Industrial coatings application includes coatings for concrete floors, metal building exteriors, concrete blocks, steel structures, and other miscellaneous equipment. The industrial coating segment of the crosslinking agent market is estimated to hold a major share both in terms of value and volume and is also anticipated to expand rapidly during the forecast period. This is due to the increased demand for eco-friendly and water-based coatings various industrial applications.
In terms of region, the crosslinking agent market has been segmented into Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America holds a prominent share of the market, followed by Europe. Stringent environmental laws, and industries shifting to VOC-free coatings are major factors that are driving the market in these regions. The Asia Pacific crosslinking agent market is anticipated to expand at a significant CAGR due to rise in usage of cross-linked coatings in industries and automobiles.
The polyisocyanate and polyaziridine crosslinking agents are costly, non-renewable and are slightly toxic to human skin. These factors are expected to restrain the crosslinking agent market.
Key players operating in the crosslinking agent market include Evonik Industries (Germany), Allnex Holding S.à r.l. (Luxembourg), Huntsman Corporation (U.S.), Covestro AG (Germany), BASF SE (Germany), Dupont (U.S.), Lord Corporation (U.S.), Aditya Birla Chemicals (India), Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd. (China), Hexion Inc.(US), Ineos (Switzerland), Shanghai Sisheng Polymer Materials Co., Ltd. (China ), The DOW Chemical Company (U.S.), Stahl Holdings BV (Netherlands), and Angus Chemical Company (U.S.).