Polyphenylene oxide, also known as polyphenylene ether (PPE), is a thermoplastic noncrystalline construction material. Individually, the product is of little commercial significance. The most extensive use belongs to its blends with polystyrene, polyamide and some other polymers. In fact, PPE is an inclusive term for a whole group of polymer materials.
There are not so many producers of polyphenylene oxide on a global scale. And, on the contrary, there are plenty of companies worldwide engaged in its modification. Presently, the key PPE producers are as follows: Asahi Kasei Corporation, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Polyxylenol Singapore Pte. Ltd, a joint venture between Asahi Kasei Corporation and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., Inc. China is regarded as one of the most vigorous PPE markets, with an annual consumption growth rate averaging 33% over the past few years. Most of the global polyphenylene oxide output is consumed within car-making and the E+E sector.
The USA is deemed the key consumer of polyphenylene oxide. It is followed by Japan and China. Unlike the Chinese market, the Russian and Ukrainian ones receive marginal volumes of the product. Thus, in 2007, Russia imported only 11.5 tonnes of PPE, provided by Sumitomo Chemical.
Our article provides a detailed review of PPE production, uses and prospects.