Fluoroelastomers are fluorine-containing polymers also known as fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubbers. These elastomers have high resistance to chemicals, abrasion, and high temperature. These materials exhibit superior mechanical and sealing properties when compared to contemporary elastomers. Commonly known forms of fluoroelastomers include fluorocarbon, fluorosilicon, and perfluoroelastomers.

These properties of fluoroelastomer materials make them suitable for use in automotive, aerospace, industrial, and high temperature applications. Fluoroelastomers are majorly used to manufacture automotive exhaust hose pipes, seals and gaskets, O-rings, valves, diaphragms, and semi-conductor fabrication materials.

A monumental hike in automotive production in recent years has resulted in the high demand for fluoroelastomers, which is expected to be a key area of focus for fluoroelastomer suppliers after the aerospace manufacturing industry. Surging demand across numerous industry verticals around the globe is also motivating manufacturers to expand their production capacities.

  • In January 2022, AGC Chemicals Americas Inc. (AGCCA), a subsidiary of AGC Group, announced the expansion of its production facility at Thorndale, Pennsylvania, United States. The plan was to add around 50% more production capacity along with office space and a quality control lab.

The consolidated nature of the competitive landscape of the fluoroelastomers market makes it a tough place to penetrate and even tougher to compete in. New product launches and product portfolio expansion are the prime focus of companies to stay ahead of each other and improve sales growth potential.

  • In June 2022, Solvay, a renowned Belgian-French chemicals company, revealed that it was launching a new product range of high-performance Tecnoflon peroxide curable fluoroelastomers (FKM) that were manufactured without using fluorosurfactants. The company has plans to eliminate the use of fluorosurfactants by 2024.

On the flip side, characteristic qualities of fluoroelastomers such as high resistance to chemicals, heat, and moisture are a threat to its demand growth as they make the material a non-biodegradable one. Stringent norms are being implemented around the world to ban the use of toxic and non-biodegradable materials to conserve the environment. Growing popularity of sustainability trends is a major threat to fluoroelastomer demand growth in the long run.

  • In May 2022, The Chemours Company, a leading American chemicals manufacturer, announced the launch of a sustainable process to produce Advanced Polymer Architecture (APA) grade Viton™ fluoroelastomers. The process was expected to revolutionize the industry as it produced fluoroelastomers without the utilization of a fluorinated polymerization aid.

The incompatibility of fluoroelastomers with widely used ester solvents is also a key aspect that could hurt its demand growth outlook going forward.

Advancements in sealant applications, stringent regulations on automotive exhaust emissions, and development of chemical and high temperature resistant materials are expected to drive the consumption of fluoroelastomers across the world. Other applications of fluoroelastomers include as sealants in food and pharmaceutical industries, fluid handling and environmental control systems, and oil gas and mineral extraction process.

Emerging applications of fluoroelastomers include tubing for chemical industries, printing, wastewater treatment, pulp and paper, and fine chemicals. Specific grades of fluoroelastomer include liquid elastomers, thermoplastic fluoroelastomer, and flexible low permeable elastomers.

In order to achieve certain performance standard and material quality, fluoroelastomers are cured with the help of co-polymers and tertiary polymers. The elastomers after curing with the help of these materials find applications in crank shaft seals, bearing seals, turbocharger hose, and other specialty sealing applications. The market for fluoroelastomers is expected to grow between 4% and 7% CAGRin the next five years. Key players in the market include DuPont, Daikin, AGC Chemicals Europe, 3M Advanced Materials, Lauren Manufacturing, Ge Mao Rubber Industrial Co., Ltd., and other chemical and material manufacturing companies.