Styrene butadiene latex is an emulsion polymer containing styrene and butadiene. Feedstock required for the production of styrene butadiene latex includes styrene, butadiene, water, and emulsifier. Carboxylic acid is added in order to manufacture carboxylated styrene butadiene latex. The mixture then undergoes polymerization reaction, following which the unreacted monomers (light and heavy) are recovered from the emulsion. Latex is generally manufactured through cold process for which efficient refrigeration equipment is required. Finally, the latex is stored and later packaged to be marketed. The main raw materials for styrene butadiene latex are styrene and butadiene, both of which are downstream derivatives of crude oil. The prices of the two feedstock vary with the price of crude oil and mostly exhibit similar trends.
Based on the composition of styrene butadiene latex, content of styrene is higher than butadiene. The higher content of styrene facilitates improved plasticity of the end product. The content of styrene and butadiene varies based on end-user applications. Styrene butadiene latex finds extensive applications in paper processing, fiber processing, glass fiber processing, paints & coatings, adhesives, and mortar additives among others. One of the major applications of styrene butadiene latex is in manufacturing coated paper. Moreover, styrene butadiene latex is generally used in the carpet industry as it is used for carpet backing especially in manufacturing tufted carpet.
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Paper processing application accounted for the largest share of the global styrene butadiene latex market in 2014. Styrene butadiene latex is used for paper processing which includes manufacturing of coated papers. In coated paper, the treatment of styrene butadiene latex provides gloss, opacity, brightness, image quality, and printability. Coated papers are used in advertising flyers, magazines, and catalogues. Styrene butadiene latex is used in the manufacture of carpets, as it acts as a binding agent to hold the tuft in the carpet, and is crucial in carpet backing. Carpets are used both for residential and non-residential purposes. Most manufactured carpets are used in residential applications and the remaining is utilized in commercial and industrial applications.
Mortar additives are anticipated to be the most promising application of styrene butadiene latex during the forecast period, as these additives are used in cement in the construction industry. Mortar additives offer compressive strength, bonding adhesion, water resistance, and tensile strength when added to cement. Global demand for cement due to rising construction activity is expected to increase the consumption of styrene butadiene latex. Styrene butadiene latex is also used as binder and for surface treatment in glass fiber processing applications. Furthermore, it is used in emulsion polymer for paints & coatings applications. The inclusion of styrene butadiene latex in paints & coating provides a classy look to walls, wood, etc. Styrene butadiene latex is also used in other applications such as adhesives, molded foam, and hand gloves.
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Asia Pacific is the major producer and consumer of styrene butadiene latex accounting for more than 40% of the global market in 2014. The key demand for styrene butadiene latex is a result of the growing carpet industry along with high demand for paper coating in Asia Pacific. In terms of volume, the demand for styrene butadiene latex in Asia Pacific is expected to rise at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2015 and 2023. In the Asia Pacific region, Japan and China account for the bulk of demand for styrene butadiene latex. Developed regions such as Europe and North America are expected to hold a major share of the global market despite the slowdown of paper processing application in this region. Latin America and Middle East & Africa (MEA) are expected to see strong demand for styrene butadiene latex during the forecast period. Latin America and Middle East & Africa (MEA) are anticipated to experience significant demand due to the increasing construction industry across the region coupled with growing usage of carpets in this region.
The global styrene butadiene latex market is highly concentrated in nature with the top two companies commanding majority of the market share. Major companies operating in the market include Dow Chemical Company, Trinseo S.A., BASF S.E., Synthomer Plc, LG Chem Ltd., Synthetic Latex Company (Pty) Ltd, NANTEX Industry Co., Ltd, Asahi Kasei Chemical Corporation, and OMNOVA Solutions Inc. Some of the major players of styrene butadiene latex are intensifying their production capacity to tap the potential demand that would arise due to growth of coated paper in the Asia Pacific market.