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US specialty foams demand to reach $1.3 billion in 2009.

Specialty foam demand in the US is expected to expand 5.5 percent yearly through 2009 to $1.3 billion, yielding more than 500 million pounds of foam. Advances will reflect heightened needs for lighter weight materials with higher performance cushioning, insulating, structural and other characteristics. Polyurethane and engineered plastic will remain the dominant plastic foams, with best growth expected for silicone and fluoropolymer foams. Non-plastic foams such as metal and ceramic will exhibit the best growth prospects due to rapid advances in niche markets such as catalyst substrates. These and other trends are presented in Specialty Foams, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Specialty polyurethane foam demand is projected to rise 5.6 percent annually through 2009 based on opportunities in areas such as air and liquid filtration, gaskets, structural reinforcement, fire protection and acoustical insulation. Particularly good growth is expected for hydrophilic (water absorbing) foam in areas such as wound dressings, and as delivery vehicles for inks and antimicrobials. Demand for engineered plastic foam will grow 4.5 percent annually due to advantages such as good dielectric properties, strength and temperature resistance.

Ceramic and metal foam opportunities will reflect advancing catalyst substrate, metal filtration and other applications. Nascent materials such as aluminum foam also have significant potential in areas such as energy absorption (e.g., crumple zones for automotive safety) and filters (e.g., diesel particulate filters). Good growth is also expected for foam glass in thermal insulation applications, particularly as an insulating base for liquified natural gas tanks.

Electrical and electronic specialty foam markets will be stimulated by growing applications in business and medical equipment, as well as wire and cable. Threats to further advances include continued efforts to downsize products, and competition from other materials and offshore producers. Better growth is anticipated in industrial uses such as gaskets, seals and filters for industrial machinery, and thermal insulation for storage tanks and other vessels.

Specialty Foams (published 08/2005, 201 pages) is available for $4,100 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail Information may also be obtained through
(million dollars)

 % Annual Growth
Item 1999 2004 2009 04/99 09/04

Specialty Foam Demand 787 1013 1325 5.2 5.5
 Plastic Foam 700 895 1152 5.0 5.2
 Polyurethane 260 336 442 5.3 5.6
 Engineered Plastic 189 237 295 4.6 4.5
 Other Plastic 251 322 415 5.1 5.2
Non-Plastics Foam 87 118 173 6.3 8.1

[C] 2005 by The Freedonia Group, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Subscription: $00.00 per year as of 1/94. Published irregularly. Contact Freedonia Group, 3570 Warrensville Cente
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:United States
Publication:Research Studies - Freedonia Group
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 30, 2005
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