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Polymer composites produced from natural fiber and wood fiber/flour are growing at significant double-digit rates, and represent one of the major areas of growth for plastics additives today.
The market for polymer-wood composites reached over 700 million lbs. in North America in 2000 and is projected by Principia Partners to nearly triple in size during the next decade. In turn, this growth will lead to increased demand for the nearly $100 million additives segment of this market.
Use of specialty additives for natural fiber-based and wood composites is still in the infancy stage. Formulation enhancements are required to significantly increase performance and improve throughput and cost economics for these composites, and performance enhancing additives will expand their market acceptance and share. The specific materials and amount of additives required to sufficiently stabilize and improve these natural composites are still under development and evaluation by the industry.
“”Many of the major plastics additive suppliers are seeking to serve this market segment, and require a greater understanding of the formulation needs and changing technical requirements among composite producers,”” according to Lou Rossi, a principal at Principia Partners. “”Composite producers will look to specialty additives to improve product performance and manufacturing efficiencies. This study will address all major additive types, including compatibilizers, impact modifiers, heat stabilizers, lubricants, colorants, UV inhibitors, and, of course, wood fiber/flour and crop fiber, used in this product segment.””
The advances in additive technology and likely winners in each type of additive category is the subject of a new report titled Specialty Additives in Natural Fiber and Wood Composites, North America-2001. The study is the third detailed analysis assessing various developments in the polymer-wood composites industry by Principia Partners, the Exton, PA-based market research and business consulting firm. The study results will be available by early December 2001.
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