Vinyls are a simple chemical group, yet they are industrially indispensable. They have some of the broadest practical applications in solution-oriented chemical engineering. In the form of vinyl resin polymers or copolymers, they have the potential to be utilized for an almost limitless set of purposes. For this reason, products derived from these vinyl resins are ubiquitous.
Vinyl resin polymers are the most commercially-visible vinyl resin solutions used. These include polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Polymerized in water, polyvinyl acetate (PVAc), is an emulsion with widely useful physical qualities which allow for all sorts of coating and adhesive solutions. The most obvious of these is PVA glue, also known as Elmer’s glue, but its full range of applications varies considerably.
More varied still in application is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Produced globally in immense quantities, PVC is the most popular vinyl resin polymer and the world’s second biggest selling plastic today. A considerable contributing factor in this is almost certainly a financial one of cost-effectiveness. Synthesized from ethylene and chlorine, PVC is one of the most easy plastics to produce. It’s also less susceptible to changing prices of oil, since its chemical composition isn’t exclusively based on hydrocarbons, but includes chlorine as well.
Logistically, polyvinyl chloride is convenient for the production of commodities with a small cost to large benefit ratio. Besides this, PVC’s preeminent properties of strength, durability, corrosion-resistance and lightness have guaranteed its salience in chemical engineering as applied to industrial scale production. Its low cost make it an economical choice for many manufacturers. Accordingly, PVC resin has become, both economically and literally, the very substance of markets like glazing, cladding, facing, plumbing and drainage, as well as the production of consumer-facing food and drink containers, to say nothing of many thousands of other applications.
The largest producer of PVC in the United States is Shintech which, as a subsidiary of Shin-Etsu, is a sister company of MicroSi. Globally, Shin-Etsu itself is the largest single producer, providing roughly 30% of the world’s supply of PVC. In 2018, Shintech announced another expansion of its PVC production, with plans for an additional production facility in the near future. Other major producers of PVC are making similar plans.
The outlook is similar for vinyl resin polymers in general. The market for vinyl resin products grows reliably year on year. This will only continue as producers across the globe expand their production capabilities and entire industries grow up around the demand for products derived from vinyl resins. In the United States, the major producers of these vinyl resins are planning for more of the same — a future where their vinyl polymer products have more applications than ever before.