The global nitrocellulose market size was valued at USD 0.86 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 1.39 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period (2022–2030).
Nitrocellulose is a combination of nitric esters of cellulose, an extremely combustible molecule. It is also known as guncotton and cellulose nitrate. Nitrocellulose is an essential component of smokeless gunpowder and some lacquers and paints. Nitrocellulose is produced from cellulose that has been refined and can be utilized in either cotton linters or wood pulp. The properties of nitrocellulose vary based on the cellulose supply, acid concentration, reaction temperature, reaction time, and acid-to-cellulose ratio.
Nitrocellulose is used in explosives, rocket propellants, flash paper, and smokeless gunpowder due to its highly combustible and non-toxic properties. Nitrocellulose is also used in nail varnishes, pharmaceutical sterility testing, and aircraft dope in the cosmetics sector. Government laws regarding the use of nitrocellulose in cosmetics due to its adverse effects and the transportation of nitrocellulose due to its flammability are anticipated to restrain the market's growth to some extent.
Nitrocellulose is produced by nitrating cellulose with nitric acid or a similar nitrating solid agent. Nitrocellulose used as a low-order explosive or propellant is called guncotton. Cellulose can also be utilized as a plastic film in wood coatings and printing inks if cellulose is not nitrated. The global market for nitrocellulose is expected to grow due to increased demand from various end-uses such as explosives, printing inks, wood coatings, and plastic films.
Coatings for wood based on nitrocellulose are frequently utilized in the building and construction business. These coatings are used in sliding doors and windows, furniture decking, and other areas. Nitrocellulose is a common ingredient in traditional nail lacquer formulations because it adheres well to natural nails. It is an essential ingredient in nail lacquer compositions. Coatings for the nails based on nitrocellulose are semi-occlusive, which means they protect the nail while enabling it to breathe normally. Due to the expansion of the cosmetics industry throughout the world, it is anticipated that the demand for nail varnish applications will increase over the next several years. Nitrocellulose-based explosives are frequently utilized by opposing militaries to propel projectiles. As a result of the rapid expansion of the building and construction industry and growing living standards, there has been an increase in the demand for furniture, which is anticipated to drive the growth of the nitrocellulose market.
Printing inks are utilized in the publishing, textile, and packaging industries because they assist modern printing equipment in operating more efficiently and producing higher-quality output. According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), Malaysia is an attractive market for e-commerce in Southeast Asia due to its competitive economy and existing infrastructure for digital technologies. Implementing programs outlined in Malaysia's National E-Commerce Strategic Roadmap benefits the country's e-commerce industry (NeSR). The National E-Commerce Council (NECC) was established to drive the implementation of the roadmap toward doubling Malaysia's e-commerce growth rate.
Japan's large population with internet access (91.3 percent), the country presents a significant business opportunity. Labels, plastic bags, and invoices are often used for packing, necessitating printing inks for labeling delivered products. Online shopping is expanding in developing nations, driving the need for printing inks. Consequently, the expansion of e-commerce platforms is the primary factor driving the nitrocellulose industry.
Fires are common in paint and ink manufacturing facilities, especially where nitrocellulose has been soaked in isopropanol (or alcohol made from isopropyl) as part of the blending process. Nitrocellulose is a highly combustible substance; therefore, it is highly likely that either residual nitrocellulose caused the fires in the blending system or nitrocellulose that was kept on the firm's premises. One inhales nitrocellulose can irritate the respiratory tract, skin, eyes, and mouth. Dermatitis and dry skin are two other potential side effects. Since isopropyl alcohol has a lower vapor pressure than nitrocellulose, the fumes of isopropyl alcohol are easier to breathe in, making it a more dangerous substance. When disclosed to high quantities of the solvents used as damping agents, individuals may experience dizziness, difficulty breathing, and even unconsciousness. Handling a strong acid, such as sulfuric acid, can have equally disastrous consequences. Long-term exposure to damped nitrocellulose may also result in chronic health issues such as kidney and liver damage, central nervous system depression, and permanent eye damage.
Nitrocellulose is an ingredient in various products, including plastic films, explosives, wood coatings, and inks. It is anticipated that there will be an increase in the market for nitrocellulose because of the increased demand for the above products. The high solubility, adhesion, quick-drying, and durability features of the material contribute to a surge in demand from various applications ranging from plastic films to explosives. Paints for cars based on nitrocellulose improve the vehicle's aesthetic look and protect it from scratches, ultraviolet rays, corrosion, oxidation, and acid rain. The Clean Energy Ministerial started a program called EV30@30 to encourage more people worldwide to use electric vehicles. It has led to an increase in the number of electric cars currently on the road.
The global nitrocellulose market is segmented by Product and Application.
Based on product, the global nitrocellulose market is divided into M-grade cellulose and E-grade cellulose.
The M-grade cellulose is the major contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7 % during the forecast period. Nitrogen content determines the solubility and thermoplasticity of nitrocellulose. Nitrocellulose with a low nitrogen concentration is more soluble in alcohols and possesses stronger thermoplasticity. The solvent systems and thermoplasticity requirements determine the grade of nitrocellulose to use. The grade's viscosity determines the nitrocellulose film's strength and durability. Low viscosity grades are excellent for applications that require a high level of solids and gloss, such as printing inks. Ideal for auto refinish paints, viscosity grades with superior film durability and resistance are those with a high viscosity.
M-grade cellulose represented a significant percentage of the nitrocellulose market. It is commonly used as a thickening and emulsifier in lubricants, dietary supplement capsules, and other consumer products. Nitrocellulose type E, with a nitrogen content of 11.8% to 12.3%, is distinguished by its high solubility in ester-type solvents (up to 100%) and low solubility in ethyl alcohol (4% to 6%) and creates films with high mechanical strength. Applications and features of E-grade cellulose include wood coatings, leather coatings, the formation of highly durable films, excellent mechanical qualities, increased alcohol resistance, and others.
Based on application, the global nitrocellulose market is classified into Printing inks, automotive paints, Wood Coatings, Leather Finishes, and Nail Varnishes.
The wood coatings segment is the most significant and is projected to reach USD 563.77 million during the forecast period. Nitrocellulose-based lacquers are commonly used in wood finishing, especially when a high-quality finish is required. They dry rapidly, offer excellent polishing characteristics, and enhance the appearance of the grain in a range of woods. The lacquers can be suitable for any application with additional resins or plasticizers. Most wood finishes comprise nitrocellulose with a high nitrogen concentration. Sap stains, fillers, general stains, and toners are other color applications for cellulose nitrate-based wood treatments. It is glossy, dries quickly, and adheres firmly to various substrates.
Using eco-printing instead of conventional inks boosts ink fixation and scratch resistance without affecting printing efficiency or manufacturing costs. Unscented printing inks and paper lacquers are in high demand in the packaging industry and flexographic printing, where solvents must not harm the rubber blankets. Leather is a premium item that fluctuates with the seasonal and annual trends of the fashion industry. As a result, the leather industry creates a demand for patent and metallic leathers every few years. These trends unquestionably add luster to a wardrobe, whether in accessories, handbags, belts, or entire outfits.
The global nitrocellulose market is primarily classified into three regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Asia-Pacific is the major shareholder of the global nitrocellulose market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. The Asia-Pacific nitrocellulose market is analyzed throughout Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, and Asia-Pacific. Increasing demand from end-use sectors such as printing inks, automobile paints, wood coatings, and leather tanning & finishing has resulted in increased trade and use of cellulose nitrate in these countries. Several manufacturers are shifting their operations to this region to reduce expenses. These companies profit from lower labor expenses and lower raw material costs.
The nitrocellulose market in Europe is analyzed throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the rest of Europe. The automobile industry is rapidly expanding in Europe, which has increased the demand for high-quality auto paints to protect vehicles from oxidation and corrosion while also improving their aesthetic appeal. This growth in need may also be attributable to the consumption of automobile paint and the presence of major automakers in the area. The market for nitrocellulose in North America is examined in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The demand for nitrocellulose in North America is expected to skyrocket as the furniture industry expands and the need for wood coatings rises. Increases in per capita income are mainly responsible for the phenomenal growth of the luxury furniture sector. In addition, the constantly expanding urban population is driving up the demand for upscale furniture, fueling nitrocellulose use in wood coatings.
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