Published May 2015
Polychloroprene is noted primarily for its resistance to weathering, aging and heat, wear, tearing, water and a large number of chemicals over a long period of time, and soil bacteria and fungi; excellent combustion behavior; average resistance to oils; good strength; good adhesion to materials; low gas permeability; and good electrical properties for a large number of applications. However, it tends to be higher priced than other elastomers, has only fair dielectric properties, a mediocre resistance to low temperatures, and loses resilience above 120°C. Because average under-the-hood temperatures in automobiles continue to increase, automakers have been substituting with competing elastomers; for example, thermoplastic elastomers compete heavily in these markets, offering the additional advantage of recyclability.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polychloroprene elastomers:
The largest consuming countries/regions for polychloroprene elastomers continue to be China, the United States, and Western Europe. These three countries/regions have accounted for nearly 60% of total global polychloroprene consumption in recent years.
As a result of substitution and spot weakness in demand, the development of the polychloroprene industry continues to decelerate; however, some applications, especially adhesives, industrial goods, and consumer products, continue to have market demand.
Japan continues to hold the largest polychloroprene capacity in the world, and in 2014, 84% of the total Japanese polychloroprene production was exported. The main export destinations were other Asian countries, accounting for about 65% of total exports in 2014.
Worldwide consumption of polychloroprene is expected to increase in the next five years, led by growth in Asian countries (excluding Japan and South Korea). Consumption growth in the more developed regions of the world is expected to be flat to slightly positive (in the United States and Western Europe), and slightly declining in Japan. Global polychloroprene rubber consumption is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1.4% to 2019.