Published March 2015
Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resins exhibit an exceptional combination of properties and an excellent cost/performance balance. The key properties of PPS resins include, but are not limited to, thermal stability, dimensional stability, chemical resistance, and inherent flame retardancy. They belong to a class of high-performance thermoplastics that includes specialty nylons, sulfone polymers, liquid crystal polymers, aromatic polyketones, polyetherimides, and others. Major markets for PPS resins include automotive, electrical and electronics (E/E), mechanical, and industrial, including PPS fibers and films. The automotive and E/E industries consume the most PPS worldwide.
Reinforcement of PPS improves impact resistance, strength, hardness, temperature resistance, and most other mechanical and physical properties. For these reasons, PPS molding compounds almost always contain glass or mineral reinforcements. For specialty PPS compounds, polymer plus specialty fillers and/or carbon fiber or PTFE could be included.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polyphenylene sulfide resins:
New grades of PPS resins with improved mechanical and electrical properties have entered the market. They are easier to process, are lower in cost, and are available in various colors because of their greater purity. For example, PPS neat resin manufacturers now have PPS with magnetic, thermally conductive, low-wear, fiber optic, medical, and food-grade capabilities, all suitable for injection molding. Injection molding is the major processing method for PPS, but some newer grades can be blow molded or extruded. PPS resins are utilized primarily for automotive parts/components, electrical/electronic applications, mechanical/industrial applications (including for PPS fibers and film), and other uses.
PPS competes with a wide variety of materials, including metals (e.g., stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and alloys), thermoplastic polyesters (PBT and PCT), nylons, epoxies, and other high-performance thermoplastics (LCPs, polyphthalamides, and nylon 46). However, PPSs outstanding chemical resistance distinguishes it from all other competitors. Few materials can match PPSs ability to tolerate hot, humid, and corrosive conditions. The polymer is specified for many demanding applications because of its chemical resistance, excellent heat deflection temperature, good electrical properties, light weight, and ease of fabrication relative to metals.
Demand for PPS resins has grown at a healthy and promising rate since the 2008–09 global recession. More so, world automotive production is back on track and the push for heavier loadings of PPS in automotive parts, newer applications, and environmental requirements has increased PPS demand on a larger scale. Overall, global PPS demand is expected to continue to grow at a faster pace than global GDP. In fact, during 2014–19, world PPS resin consumption will grow at an average annual rate of 6–7%.
Consumption growth will continue to shift toward China, where demand in electrical and electronics applications, as well as automotive applications and filter bags is expected to rise sharply.