Liquid Synthetic Rubber – Versatile Bio-Inert Polymers
The Global Liquid Silicone Rubber Market was valued at US$2.326 billion in 2020 and will increase to US$ 4.153 billion by 2027. Over the forecast period, this market is estimated to grow at a compound yearly growth rate of 8.63%.
A Liquid Silicone rubber, as the name implies, is pure, platinum-cured silicone, possessing optimal tensile strength, high quality, and resistance. These silicone-based rubbers are optimally designed for the utility in the production of technical parts. The liquid silicone rubber polymers are viscous yet can be predominantly produced by Liquid Injection Moulding (LIM). LSR is a two-component system wherein long polysiloxane chains are integrated with specifically treated Silica. One component is comprised of platinum catalyst, while the other is comprised of methylhydrogensiloxance, which serves as an alcohol inhibitor and cross-linker. Liquid Silicone Rubber can offer multiple advantages based on its industrial use or application. LSRs possess excellent biocompatibility, making them the best material for making prostheses. Its durability, good chemical resistance, excellent electrical, and wide temperature range (-60°C to +250°C-) enable the polymer to be widely used in many industries. Furthermore, it is transparent and pigmentable, allowing it to match any color gradients, including different human skin tones. Such appealing factors made Liquid Silicone Rubber versatile and is a popular choice of material in the automobile and healthcare industries. The liquid Silicone Rubber Market is segmented by grade type, industry vertical, and geography.
According to the Analysts, the demand for Liquid Silicone Rubber Market is expected to increase in Healthcare Industry predominantly during the projected period.
Owing to Liquid Silicone Rubber's chemical structure, the polymer doesn't degrade even at high temperatures and possesses a higher degradation point than many other polymers. Consequently, these polymers could effectively endure sterilization procedures for their use in baby care and healthcare products. Furthermore, medical-grade LSRs possess high biocompatibility, are microbial and chemical resistant and can enable gaseous permeability. Due to the above characteristics, when planted in the body, they don't leach chemicals and don't cause adverse reactions at the target site. LSRs' versatile features also enable them to be used in the making of drug-eluting devices, improving the drug distribution in the body. For instance, LSR DEDs can be incorporated in the heart catheter leads of a pacemaker, directly sending the anti-inflammatory active pharmaceutical ingredients into the cardiac tissue. According to statistics derived by International Trade Administration, the US Department of Commerce has grown as the largest medical device market globally and is estimated to reach USD 208 billion by 2023. The growing medical devices market is expected to affect the Liquid Silicone Rubber demand positively.
Furthermore, these polymers can also be used to make wearable devices like fitness trackers, owing to their ability to function even when exposed to ozone or UV radiation without degradation. Thus, even when the fitness trackers are worn for an extended period, the LSR doesn't produce any skin irritation. Thus, the increase in demand for healthcare wearables is bound to fuel the demand for medical-grade Liquid Silicone Rubber. According to IBEF, the wearable market in India grew by about 93.8% from July to September 2021 and was able to ship about 23.8 million units in just three months.
Nevertheless, the stringent rules and regulations are constraining the market. The harsh restrictions associated with the production and supply of LSR are expected to stifle market growth. Medical-grade Liquid Silicone Rubber, for instance, has particularly high standards and is strictly regulated by FDA and ISO.
During the forecast period, the Liquid Silicone Rubber market in the Asia Pacific region is expected to have a dominant share.
Based on geography, the Global Liquid Silicone Rubber market is segmented into five regions: North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The Asia Pacific is expected to hold a dominant share of liquid silicone rubber. Among the countries presiding in the region, liquid silicon markets in India and China are rapidly growing due to the rapid development in the automobile and healthcare sectors. For instance, according to OICA, of the 80,145,988 units of motor vehicles produced in 2021, 46,732,785 units were produced in the Asia Pacific region. About 50% percent of these units, that is 26,082,220 units, were produced by China, the largest automobile producing nation globally. LSRs are extensively used in automobiles, from seals for connectors, proximity sensors, and dampeners in the climate control system, to powertrain and engine components like power-frame sealing gaskets, ignition components, and many others. Subsequently, with the increase in automobile production, the demand for Industrial-grade Liquid Silicone Rubber in the region will increase as well.
At the same time, growing healthcare and medical device in the region is also expected to increase the demand for liquid silicone rubber in the region. For instance, according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the medical device market in India is projected to increase to USD 50 Billion by 2025 from USD 10.36 billion recorded in 2020. This growth could be attributed to increased emphasis on research and development and the several initiatives taken by the Indian government to consolidate the medical devices industry, and the strategic developments deployed by the key players. For instance, in October 2021, Microtek announced its plans to strengthen its position in the market by enhancing its healthcare segment. The newly launched products by the firm were oxygen concentrators, oximeters, thermometers, and blood pressure monitors. Thus, the increase in the market size of the medical devices is expected to boost the medical-grade liquid silicone rubber market as well.
COVID-19's impact on Liquid Silicone Rubber Market is negative. The end-users of Liquid Silicone Rubber Market are automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare, and a few other industries. The outbreak of the pandemic and mandated lockdown has led to the closure of many automobile and consumer facilities, either partially or completely. The increased infection rates had further affected the staffing in the industries, thereby reducing productivity. Subsequently, a number of projects were also put on hold and were postponed to a later time. The disruptions in demand and supply chains and volatile prices had negatively affected the market. In the automobile industry, for instance, the number of units produced in 2020 fell to 77,621,582 units from 92,175,805 in 2019 worldwide, according to OICA. Overall, the year 2020 saw a decline of 15.8% in the production of motor vehicles globally. Consequently, the demand for Liquid Silicone Rubber in the Automobile industry decreased during the pandemic. Nevertheless, with the economy's recovery and initiatives taken by several governments towards sustainable development, the industry is expected to recover and grow in upcoming years.