Specialty chemicals, also known as effect chemicals, are chemicals which provide different effects when added to other chemical or substances. They include:
- Adhesives (substance applied at the surfaces of materials binding them together to resist separation)
- Agrichemicals (pesticides such as insecticides, herbicides and fungicides).
- Cleaning materials
- Cosmetic additives
- Construction chemicals
- Food additives (food preservatives such as salt, sugar, vinegar and sulphur dioxide),
- Industrial gases
- Surfactants (emulsifiers, foaming agents and dispersants)
- Textile auxiliaries
Sectors such as the automobile, aerospace, food, cosmetics, agriculture, manufacturing and textile industries are the major end-user of specialty chemicals.
Asia-Pacific leads the global specialty chemicals market followed by North America and Europe. Increasing industrial activities in developing countries such as India and China will increase the demand for specialty chemicals in these countries.
China and Japan are expected to lead the Asia-Pacific market.
Specialty polymers, industrial and institutional cleaners, construction chemicals, electronic chemicals, and flavours and fragrances are the major uses of specialty chemicals by the manufacturing industry. The rise in disposable income in developing countries is expected to drive the demand for these products.
Increasing industrial activities in the field of cosmetics, food, agriculture and other manufacturing sectors in the developing countries such as India and Brazil are expected to increase, thus increasing the overall demand for specialty chemicals. Additionally, specialty chemicals are increasingly used in water treatment. The introduction of more sophisticated water treatment technologies such as ion-exchange include the use of specialty chemicals. However, government regulation of the use of certain chemicals in the food processing industry and other manufacturing industries may hinder the growth of global specialty chemicals industry.
The chemical industry is very fragmented with many companies operating in this industry. Some of the major companies are; Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, BASF SE, Akzo Nobel N.V., Clariant International Ltd, Evonik Industries AG, Chemtura Corporation, Cytec Industries Inc., Albemarle Corporation and Ferro Corporation.
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