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Shift from Commodity to Specialty Products Continues in US Silicones Market
Steady growth in manufacturing output will support gains going forward. Faster growth is expected in the smaller construction and medical markets.
While DowDuPont (Dow Corning) continues to dominate sales of commodity silicone products through its low cost
XIAMETER platform, other market leaders have turned their attention to growing opportunities in specialty silicones. Specialty silicones are broadly defined but typically consist of more complex elastomers, resins, and gels used in demanding applications such as:
encapsulants and coatings designed to protect LEDs and solar cells
high value architectural coatings designed to withstand harsh conditions
medical devices, wound dressings, and implants
Key Findings in the
Motor Vehicle Market Leads Growth in Large Industrial Sector
The motor vehicle market will continue to offer significant growth opportunities due to silicone’s resistance to high heat, oil, and shock. Gains will be driven primarily by the growing number of electronic components installed in vehicles. Automotive electronics are typically protected with high-value silicone gel encapsulants.
Silicones are also favored for their soundproofing and lightweighting capabilities in the form of weatherstrip sealants and a variety of elastomeric components. Liquid silicone rubber (LSR), for instance, is increasingly favored for under-the-hood components.
Medical Market to Post Fastest Growth of Major Outlets
Demand for silicones in the medical market is forecast to rise at a rapid 5.9% annual pace, reaching $363 million in 2022. Growth will be fueled by silicone’s biocompatibility and low toxicity compared to competitive latex and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Particularly fast-growing applications include gentle adhesives for wound dressings and wearable medical devices, as well as LSR tubing.
LSR Remains Small But Rapidly Growing Segment
LSR will continue to grow at a strong pace as more processors adopt production capabilities in response to a rapidly expanding range of applications. Notable growth opportunities include automotive under-the-hood components and high clarity lighting, as well as medical tubing. LSR is increasingly favored due to fast processing speeds and precision molding.
Faster gains will continue to be restrained by LSR’s relatively high cost and the specialty equipment and knowledge required to process it.
This study presents historical demand data (2007, 2012, 2017) and forecasts for 2022 by product (fluids, elastomers, resins, gels), market (motor vehicle, electronics, machinery, aerospace and other transportation, utilities, plastic processing, pulp and paper, textile products, oil and gas, cosmetics and toiletries, motor vehicle polish, construction, medical), and function (adhesives and sealants, elastomeric components, paints and coatings, emollients and conditioning agents, surfactants, lubricants and greases, defoamers, polishes). The study also evaluates company market share and offers analysis on industry participants including DowDuPont (Dow Corning), Elkem Silicones, Evonik Industries, Momentive Performance Materials, Shin-Etsu Chemical, and Wacker Chemie.
This study examines the US market for silicones by product (e.g., fluids, elastomers, resins, and gels), market (e.g., industrial, consumer, construction, and medical), and function (e.g., adhesives and sealants, elastomeric components, paints and coatings, emollients and conditioning agents, surfactants, lubricants and greases, defoamers, and polishes).
Historical data for 2007, 2012, and 2017 and forecasts for 2022 are provided for silicone demand in current dollars for each of the products, markets, and functions. Volume data (in pounds) are also provided.
For the purposes of this study, silicones are defined as polymers of silicon and oxygen. Siloxanes used as raw materials for silicones are not included, although siloxanes used as silicone products themselves (as in personal care product formulations) are included. Silanes, including chlorosilane intermediates and silane coupling agents, are not defined as silicone polymers and are thus excluded.