Isoprene rubber is an artificial elastomer made out of polymers that are synthesized from by-products of petroleum. It is a synthetic rubber that is produced using complex catalysts of stereospecific polymerization in solvents. Isoprene rubbers possess high strength, are durable and rugged, and show high resistance to abrasion and fractures. Its operating temperature ranges from -55°C to 80°C which makes it a better choice in automotive industry applications such as tire production for tread, breaker and sidewalls, driving belts etc. Other applications of isoprene rubber include hoses production, conveyor belt production, cable insulation etc.
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Isoprene rubber in association with other compounds finds numerous applications like rubber bands, baby bottle nipples, and in footwear, sponge and sporting goods. Isoprene rubber lacks protein and fatty substances content which is found in natural rubber. This proves to be advantageous as protein in natural rubber causes allergies in some cases. Other advantages include high resilience, hot tensile, gum tensile, low water swell, and a good tack. Moreover, it can be used for a number of applications involving operations across a wide temperature range.
The major driver of the isoprene rubber market is the expected growth and development of various segments like automotive industry, where isoprene rubber is extensively used. The automotive industry is doing well in regions such as Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America and is expected to grow considerably in the Asia Pacific region in the near future. Also, rising industrialization in emerging economies such as India and China is the major driver which is anticipated to drive the market for isoprene rubber during the forecast period.
Isoprene rubber has several disadvantages like low permeability to gases, poor resistance against acid, fuel, oil, steam etc. and are not recommended for applications involving food contact, due to which there is a demand for its substitutes. Chloroprene rubber, neoprene rubber, and vulcanized rubber are some alternatives which can overcome the limitations of isoprene rubber. These can be used as substitutes to isoprene rubber. The rubber industry is continuously seeing innovations. The most recent innovation in the industry is liquid rubber with farnesene, a product obtained by fermentation of sugarcane. It is well known as LFR. LFRs are used to manufacture tires that provide better grip on ice and can work well in low temperatures compared to conventional tires currently being used in the industry.
Geographically, the market for isoprene rubber can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & African. The market is anticipated to be dominated by Asia Pacific, where continuous industrial development is expected. Need for better medical facilities is expected to drive the growth of the market in Asia Pacific and Africa.
Key players in the market include Kraton Corporation, Zeon Corporation, JSR Corporation, Kuraray Co. Ltd., Goodyear Chemical Ltd., Sibur etc.
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The market for isoprene rubber is expected to continue to grow owing to the growth of industries like automotive, medical, mechanical etc. that are its huge consumers. Moreover, the market is expected to grow due to industrial developments, and need for better medical facilities, both in the developing and developed nations of the world.