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Polypropylene: ever-increasing consumption

Why is this material so successful in the world of plastic?

Polypropylene: ever-increasing consumption

Polypropylene (PP) is a synthetic plastic material obtained from petroleum. It was created relatively recently and earned its two discoverers, Giulio Natta and Karl Ziegler, a Nobel Prize.

What was so revolutionary about this discovery?

The answer is clear: versatility. From the 1960s onwards, PP became a vital material in the fashion industry, in design, and in art in general. From a molecular point of view, it is characterised by a linear chain structure that makes it easily workable at high temperatures, since the substance is reduced to a viscous state and can be modelled into different shapes and sizes.

Polypropylene has many advantages: high tensile strength first of all, but also low density and excellent abrasion resistance; it is thus used to make flasks, bottles, kitchen bowls, yoghurt pots, and even toys. Via extrusion, we can obtain plastic sheeting or film, while spinning PP produces Neofil, a synthetic textile fibre used to make rugs, doormats and carpets.

It is therefore light, does not deteriorate over time, is resistant to weathering, and so on and so forth. Polypropylene is even used in dashboards and car doors since it is also odourless, non-toxic and washable.

Its multiple uses mean that it is undoubtedly one of the most attractive compounds for the plastics industry, and it has greatly simplified the daily lives of countless people. Our company, for example, uses it to make various PP products such as polypropylene tanks and cisterns.

Demand and consumption will grow until 2021

Returning to the initial question, therefore, PP trails only polyethylene in terms of global consumption, with 55 million tons used. This trend continues to accelerate. On a global level, polypropylene is mainly used in the packaging sector with its films and fibres, which are increasingly in demand in the Asia-Pacific market, although it is the Middle East that will meet this growing demand thanks to its latest-generation plants.

Growth in the US market will continue, but it will plateau in Italy, France and Germany as the markets there are now mature.

Thanks to the material’s enormous versatility, our company has been manufacturing numerous PP manifolds and special pieces in recent years. Looking to turn an idea into reality and in need of technical support? Contact us for a no-obligation discussion to design an ad hoc project together.

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