LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio analysts forecast the global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) market to grow at a CAGR of more than 9% during the forecast period, according to their latest report.
The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market for 2017-2021. The market is segmented based on application (membranes, filtration, additives, batteries, medical, and fibers) and geography (the Americas, APAC, Europe, and ROW).
UHMWPE is an odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic polyethylene. It has all the characteristics of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), but with the added advantage of being resistant to acids, alkalis, and another organic solvent. UHMWPE is available in many shapes and form as per its use in various applications. The major segment contributing to the global UHMWPE market is the medical segment which accounts for almost 30% of the market share in 2016. The usage of UHMWPE is increasing more due to its suitable characteristics as an implant for orthopedic surgeries, which is increasing the demand of UHMWPE in the market.
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Technavio chemicals and materials research analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market:
- Increasing demand from the medical implant industry
- Increasing use of UHMWPE-based protection gear
- High demand from North America
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Increasing demand from the medical implant industry
UHMWPE-based implants have gained popularity in applications such as orthopedic and cardiovascular implants. Orthopedic implants include knee replacement, shoulder implants, ankle implants, spinal implants, hip replacements, and bone substitutes. Implants made from UHMWPE exhibit high life span, improved strength, and better tensile strength, which prevents crack or break.
Mohd Shakeel Iqbal, a lead plastics, polymers, and elastomers research analyst at Technavio, says, “UHMWPE-based fibers are used in cardiovascular devices; they are gradually replacing polyethylene terephthalate fibers owing to properties such as small size and enhanced flexibility. The types of UHMWPE-based cardiovascular implants are cardiac stents, pacing devices, and structural cardiac implants. In addition, the advances in medical technologies, increasing healthcare investments, high aging population, and high disposable income of new bourgeois are driving the demand for UHMWPE in medical applications.”
Increasing use of UHMWPE-based protection gear
UHMWPE-based fiber is used in the ballistic application. UHMWPE-based hard ballistic fibers are used in protective gear such as helmets, and body armor, whereas, UHMWPE-based soft ballistic fiber is used in vests to protect soldiers from the impact of knives and handgun ammunitions. The use UHMWPE in protective clothing and gear for defense and military applications was commercialized during world war II.
“UHMWPE is a hard, stiff, strong, and dimensionally stable material that absorbs little water. In addition, it facilitates self-extinguishing properties. Therefore, it is extensively used in protective clothing and gear in defense and military applications. The increasing adoption rate and investment in UHMWPE-based protection gear will foster the market in a positive direction in the coming years,” adds Shakeel.
High demand from North America
The UHMWPE market in North America is growing owing to the high use of UHMWPE in medical implants and batteries. In the US, Canada, and Mexico, owing to the presence of a high percentage of the aged population, growing health awareness, and heavy investments on medical implants, the adoption of UHMWPE-based implants is growing.
The demand for rechargeable batteries, such as lead-acid battery and lithium ion batteries, in which UHMWPE is widely used as separators is high in North America. The separators made from UHMWPE offer microporous texture, small aperture, improved service, and enhanced rejection rate, which are crucial for the ideal performance of batteries in the automotive industry in North America. All these factors are driving the UHMWPE market in North America in a positive direction.
- Asahi Kasei
- Celanese Corporation
- Honeywell International
- LyondellBasell Industries
- Mitsui Chemicals
- Royal DSM
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