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Published: July 2012
Polysulfide elastomers are the oldest of the specialty elastomers and are characterized by
- excellent solvent and chemical resistance
- great electrical properties
- very low temperature flexibility
- oxygen and ozone resistance
- good adhesion properties
- excellent flex-crack resistance
These characteristics make polysulfide elastomers particularly useful in a variety of sealant applications. The most important applications for polysulfide elastomers include use as a sealant for double-pane insulating glass windows, construction sealants, and as a sealant for aircraft fuel tanks and aircraft bodies.
Globally, more than 90% of the consumption of polysulfide elastomers is for polysulfide sealant applications (including dual-pane insulated glass windows, construction, marine, aerospace and other). The remainder is consumed for hoses, coatings, print rollers, gaskets, dental molding compounds and other. These uses have been in decline.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polysulfide elastomers:
Western Europe continues to be the world's largest consumer of polysulfide elastomers, mainly for polysulfide sealant applications. Western European production of insulating dual-pane windows in the construction market has increased (mainly as a result of colder weather patterns in Europe and interest in energy efficiency). The sealants are also used in other construction, flooring (tiling systems) and aircraft applications.
China has experienced the highest average annual growth rates in polysulfide elastomer consumption for sealant applications in recent years, and this is expected to continue through the forecast period from 2011 to 2017. China's consumption of polysulfide elastomers is expected to increase at nearly 6% per year during 2011–2017, mainly as a result of use in sealant applications for dual-pane windows and civil/construction uses.
World consumption of polysulfide elastomers is expected to grow at a modest rate of about 2–3% per year during 2011–2017. After China, Central and Eastern Europe (at 3%) and Africa and the Middle East (2.5%) will show the fastest average annual growth rates.