Methacrylic acid (MAA) is a colorless, viscous organic compound having an unpleasant odor. It is a carboxylic acid which is water soluble and mixable with organic solvents. MAA is industrially manufactured on a large scale as a precursor to its esters, specifically polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and methyl methacrylate(MMA). MAA is used in an extensive range of applications, most notably in the production of polymers with trade names such as Plexiglas and Lucite. MAA is manufactured in different conditions. In one route, tert-butanol or isobutylene is oxidized to methacrolein to give methacrylic acid. For this purpose, methacrolein can be obtained from ethylene and formaldehyde. Isobutyric acid can also be dehydrogenated to methacrylic acid. In the second route, acetone cyanohydrin is converted to meth acrylamide sulfate using sulfuric acid, which then hydrolyzed to MAA.
The global market for MAA is anticipated to be driven by the growth in end-user industries such as construction, automobiles, and electronics, where MAA is significantly consumed in light panels, windows, facades, TV display panels, coatings and emulsions amongst various others applications. In addition, technological advancement, coupled with a wide range of broadening applications of MAA is also expected to contribute towards the growth of the market.
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Key players have entered into several collaborations and agreements with other companies for the marketing of new products as well as garnering a larger share in the market. Manufacturers are focused towards developing bio-based solutions for MAA owing to fluctuating petrochemical raw material prices and frequent supply bottlenecks.Among the regions, Asia-Pacific accounted for the largest market share for MAA and is also expected to be the fastest growing segment over the forecast period. It was followed by Europe which has been witnessing moderate growth on account of Eurozone crises and economic fluctuations in the region. Latin American countries such as Brazil is all set to host the Olympics in 2016 which have been majorly prompting the growth of construction activities in the country, thereby driving the market for MAA in Central and South America (CASA) over the next few years.
Among the applications, electronics are anticipated to be the fastest growing segment, with rising disposable incomes in developing and emerging economies being one of the major factors driving the demand for electronic equipment and further demand for MAA. Moreover, energy efficient and lightweight properties of MAA have contributed significantly to its improving demand in various industries such as transportation and automotive. Demand for lightweight vehicles with lower emissions and better efficiency has witnessed a noticeable boost on account of stringent regulatory laws executed in Western Europe and North America.
Growing consumption from major end-use applications such as electronics, signs and displays, and automotive industries is expected to significantly boost the global demand for MAA. These industrial sectors are witnessing rapid growth in Europe, Asia Pacific, and other regions, thus fuelling the demand for MAA. However, volatile raw material prices of petrochemicals are expected to slow down the growth of the market. Focus towards developing bio-based MAA is expected to catch up in the near future owing to their eco-friendly characteristics and secure raw material supply, providing new opportunities for the growth of the market.
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Asahi Kasei Corporation, Chi Mei Corporation, Evonik Industries AG, Mitsubishi Rayon Group, and The Dow Chemical Company are some of the major manufacturers of MAA dominating the industry.