The key ingredients used in the manufacture of resol resins are phenol and formaldehyde. Resols are a type of phenolic formaldehyde resins. Resol resins are thermosetting polymers which cure adequately without addition of any catalyst other than heat. They are mainly used for gluing and bonding building materials. They are widely used in applications such as molding compounds, wood working adhesives and insulation among others. Approximately, 700 kilotons of the total phenolic formaldehyde resins solids are used for these purposes and half of this volume is consumed in the U.S.Resol accounted about 50% of the global phenolic resins market in 2012. Furthermore, 5% of the phenolic resins are modified with other reactants such as cresols, octylphenol, butylphenol and resorcinol which are used in specialty areas.
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North America and Europe dominated the resol resin market in 2012.Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing regional market within the forecast period.On account of its suitable chemical and physical properties such as high heat resistance, good moldability and high tensile strength, they have found applications in niche segments such as off-shore oil drilling which require materials with high heat resistance. The resol resin market has exhibited a significant growth in the past and this trend is expected to grow within the forecast period.
Increasing demand for wood working adhesives applications is expected to drive the demand for resol resins within the forecast period.Resol resins are helpful for plywood and furnishing applications as they form chemical bond with lignin component of wood.Additionally, the growing infrastructural and construction activities in emerging economies coupled with rising disposable income are expected to drive the demand for resol resins over the next few years.However,resol resins provide a poor adhesion to metals and are brittle in nature. These parameters may act as a restraint to the resol resin market in the near future. Moreover,resol resins are formaldehyde based resins.Formaldehyde is a chemical irritant and irritates eyes and throat and causes inflammation of the lungs.In 2011, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services listed formaldehyde as a carcinogenic material.Thus, the stringent regulations on phenol formaldehyde may curb the resol resin market in the near future. However,research and development on resol resins in order to improve their adhesion to metals may open avenues over the next few years.
Wood adhesives are expected to have the largest share of the global market for resol resins.The emerging economies of Asia Pacific,South America and Central & Eastern Europe are expected to exhibit the largest growth in application segment. Molding compounds are anticipated to exhibit substantial growth in China as there are numerous molding operations being undertaken in this region.
Global phenolic resins market which includes resol resins grew at an annual rate of less than 1% during 2007-2010. However, the demand declined during 2008-2009 on account of the weak global economy. This, in turnaffected the construction industry.However,the resol resins industry recovered in 2010 as the global economy improved thus reviving the construction industry.
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Key players in the resol resins market are ,
- BASF SE
- Chang Chun Plastics Co.Ltd.
- Georgia Pacific Chemicals LLC
- Mitsui Chemicals Inc
- Sumitomo Bakelite