Aromatic solvents are organic chemicals that are used to dissolve solid materials to form a homogenous solution. These solvents constitute a benzene ring structure and include toluene, xylene, benzene, and other heavy aromatics such as heavy naphtha. Aromatic solvents are manufactured in the petroleum refining industry from the distillation of petroleum stock and other chemical conversion processes such as catalytic hydrogenation and alkylation. These solvents are also obtained from light hydrocarbons such as ethane, butane, and propane. Catalytic reforming and steam cracking of straight chain alkanes is a widely accepted manufacturing process of aromatic solvents in the oil & gas industry. Aromatic solvents are largely used in the paints & coatings end-user industry to accelerate the drying process. Benzene, xylene, and toluene solvents are extensively used in paints, adhesives, and inks across the globe. Additionally, these aromatic solvents are employed in the manufacture of other intermediate chemicals such as cumene, ethyl benzene, phthalic anhydride, naphthalene, and maleic anhydride.
Demand for aromatic solvents is largely driven by the paints & coatings industry. Aromatic solvents dissolve or disperse different components such as binders, additives, pigments, and extenders that are used in the formulation of paints & coatings. Furthermore, high solvency rates help form a better homogenous solution as compared to other solvents. Similarly, expansion in the automotive industry is anticipated to boost the demand for adhesives and sealants, which is one of the major applications of aromatic solvents. These solvents maintain an optimal evaporation rate of adhesives. This helps in optimal setting of adhesive polymer on the base surface. Factors such as stringent environmental regulations (due to VOC emission) and industrial shift toward non-aromatic and biobased solvents are likely to hamper the aromatic solvents market during the forecast period.
In terms of volume, toluene segment accounted for more than 45% share of the global aromatic solvents market in 2014. Increase in applications in paints and coatings, adhesives, inks, pharmaceuticals, and other chemical formulations is estimated to drive the toluene segment in the aromatic solvents market from 2015 to 2023. Xylene is another important product segment of the global aromatic solvents market. It constitutes mixture of three isomers: ortho, meta, and para. These solvents are used in the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients and to clean pharmaceutical equipment. Benzene solvents held a small share of the global aromatic solvents market in 2014. These solvents are primarily employed in the rubber industry due to their high solvency rate. Furthermore, benzene solvents are used in the artificial leather industry and glue manufacturing, rotogravure printing, and tin can assembly applications.
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Pharmaceuticals, oilfield chemicals, automotive, paints & coatings, and others are major end-user industries in the global aromatic solvents market. Oilfield chemicals end-user segment accounted for above 5% share of the global aromatic solvents market in 2014. Aromatic solvents are used as corrosion inhibitors in oilfields to protect the inner surface of pipelines. Pharmaceuticals, another end-user segment, is likely to witness the slowest growth rate from 2015 to 2023. The others segment is projected to maintain average growth rate during the forecast period. Others end-user segment includes pesticides, textiles, cleaners, chemical intermediates, electronics, adhesive & sealants, perfumes, and cosmetics.
In terms of volume, Asia Pacific dominated the global aromatic solvents market with more than 50% share in 2014. High growth in the chemical industry is one of the major factors driving the market in Asia Pacific. Growth rate of aromatic solvents is estimated to decrease in North America and Europe due to the enactment of stringent regulations. Latin America is projected to witness moderate growth rate, as demand for aromatic solvents is expected to be significant in Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina. Middle East and Africa (MEA) is anticipated to witness below average growth rate owing to the economic transition in the region; however, the region is anticipated to experience high growth potential in the near future.
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