Published February 2015
Chlorinated polyethylene resins and elastomers (CPE) exhibit excellent physical and mechanical properties, including resistance to chemicals, oils, heat, abrasion, and weathering; low-temperature performance; compression-set resistance; flame retardancy; high filler acceptance; and tensile strength. These polymers are used as the major and/or minor component in a wide assortment of applications in industry. The largest application for CPE is as an impact modifier. Other important end-use applications for CPE include wire and cable jacketing, roofing membranes, geomembranes, automotive and industrial hose and tubing, coatings, molded shapes, extruded profiles, and use as a base polymer.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of chlorinated polyethylene resins and elastomers:
China now accounts for 98% of total world production (in 2008, China accounted for 83% of total world production). Largely as a result of the significant capacity increase in China, there is currently a wide surplus of capacity worldwide, with the global operating rate estimated at 55-60% in 2014. China is also the largest CPE consumer in the world. By far, China continues as the world leader in terms of chlorinated polyethylene nameplate capacity. The last 25 years were clearly marked by a rapid buildup of CPE capacity in China. China is the largest exporter of CPE; most exports are probably to the United States, Europe, and other Asian countries. There are many small-volume CPE producers in China; it is likely that some of these producers will shutter operations as a result of the current overcapacity situation as well as the generally competitive market.
Resin (mainly PVC) impact modification is tied very closely to the general health of the building and construction sector. Another factor that comes into play is competition from other impact modifiers, such as acrylics and MBS. The global market is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of about 4.5%.