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Published: December 2011
Vinyl acetate is a colorless, flammable, volatile liquid with a boiling point of 72–73°C. Practically all uses are as a vinyl monomer to produce polyvinyl acetate homopolymers and copolymers. The homo- and copolymers are often further reacted, often without isolation, to produce derivatives such as polyvinyl alcohol and ethylene–vinyl alcohol. Comonomers where vinyl acetate is the major component include acrylates, methacrylates and ethylene, while those comonomers where vinyl acetate is the minor component include vinyl chloride, acrylonitrile, vinylpyrrolidone and ethylene.
Vinyl acetate's consumption pattern varies by world region. In North America and Western Europe, polyvinyl acetates account for over half the final consumption. In Japan and China, the major final consumption is for polyvinyl alcohol, which is obtained via further processing of polyvinyl acetate.
Vinyl acetate's exclusive use is as a monomer. The consumption pattern, however, varies by world region. In North America and Western Europe, polyvinyl acetates account for over half the final consumption. In Japan and China, the major final consumption is for polyvinyl alcohol, which is obtained via further processing of polyvinyl acetate.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of vinyl acetate:
World trade is a major factor in vinyl acetate supply. In 2010, the United States was the largest world exporter, accounting for about 39% of total world exports, with Saudi Arabia accounting for 19% of world exports. With Asian capacity additions, major exports were from Taiwan (14% of world exports), Singapore (12%) and the Republic of Korea (6%) in 2010. Even with added VAM plant capacity, China is still a large importer of vinyl acetate. Other major importers are Western Europe, Other Asia, and Central and South America.
Most of the applications for vinyl acetate are mature. The strongest growth areas are ethylene–vinyl alcohol resins (EVOH), polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and vinyl acetate–ethylene resins (VAE). EVOH is a small-volume product, but growth of 3% per year in the United States, Japan and Western Europe is forecast during 2010–2015. PVB use is growing in laminated safety glass for architectural and commercial applications. Vinyl acetate consumption in the United States is forecast to grow at over 2.5% per year during 2010–2015. Consumption of VAM in Western Europe is forecast to grow during this period at almost 3.0% and in Japan at just over 1.0%. Vinyl acetate consumption in China is forecast to grow at almost 7.5% per year during the period; consumption in other parts of Asia is expected to increase at 1–5% per year.