Global Polystyrene Foam Market: Overview
Polystyrene is defined as a synthetic aromatic polymer manufactured from monomer styrene. It can also be defined as a plastic that is used in wide range of applications for various functions. It is primarily employed in rigid items such as refrigerator crispers, printer cartridges, and coat hangers. Polystyrene Foam Market is a derivative of polystyrene known as styrofoam or expanded polystyrene (EPS). It is used in protective packaging of appliances and in products such as insulated disposable cups, meat trays, and panel insulation. Polystyrene foam is generally 95% to 98% air. It is considered a good thermal insulator and used in building insulation materials such as insulating concrete foams and structural insulated panel building systems. Polystyrene foam offers excellent damping properties; therefore, it is widely used in packaging of food and beverages, etc.
Based on type, the polystyrene foam market can be segmented into expandable polystyrene foam and extruded Polystyrene Foam Market. Expandable polystyrene foam and extruded polystyrene foam offer the same insulation property; however, the manufacturing process for both the polystyrene foams vary. Both the foams produce finished goods with different performance properties. Extruded polystyrene foam is manufactured by the continuous extrusion process, which helps in the production of homogeneous closed cells. On the other hand, expandable polystyrene foam is manufactured by expanding spherical beads in a mold, using heat and pressure to fuse the beads together. Expandable polystyrene foam is commonly found in almost all the applications of building and construction, packaging, etc. It is a white foam usually seen in refrigerators, insulations, packaging, etc. This foam consist of 96% to 98% of air and 2% to 4% of polystyrene.
Granules in the foam are heated at a certain temperature to form a low density block. As compared to extruded polystyrene, it is less expensive and light in weight. Expandable polystyrene foam is durable, strong, and light in weight. It is used in insulated panel systems for facades, walls, and roofs and floors in buildings. It is also used as flotation material in the construction of marinas and pontoons and as lightweight fill in road and railway construction. Expandable Polystyrene Foam Market possesses excellent shock absorbing properties. Therefore, it is ideal for usage in storing and packaging items such as chemicals and electronic equipment. Extruded polystyrene has the same properties of expandable Polystyrene Foam Market; however, it is manufactured using a different technology. This technology helps in the production of foam, which has smaller air pockets and is more uniform in size. Extruded polystyrene foam is generally used in the manufacture of demonstration panels. It is also used in construction areas.
Based on application, the polystyrene foam market can be divided into building & construction, packaging, and other industrial applications. Polystyrene foam is an excellent insulator, which is light in weight and is used in wide range of insulation applications. For instance, it is used in residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial building sectors. Polystyrene foam is also used extensively in civil engineering. Despite its light weight, exceptional compressive strength, and block rigidity, polystyrene foam forms an excellent structural base material for civil engineering applications including road, railway, and bridge infrastructure.
Based on geography, the global polystyrene foam market can be split into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are the prominent regions of the polystyrene foam market, led by the growth in packaging and construction industries. Companies operating in the polystyrene foam market in Asia Pacific and Latin America are investing significantly in research and development activities.
Major players operating in the global polystyrene foam market include The Dow Chemicals Company, BASF Corporation, Chevron Phillips Company, and Polimeri Europa. These companies hold significant share of the market. Thus, the polystyrene foam market experiences intense competition.