Vinylon fiber, also known as Vinalon, is a type of synthetic fiber produced using polyvinyl alcohol. It is also, at times, referred to as polyvinyl alcohol fiber and is not to be confused with Vinyon (synthetic fiber made from polyvinyl chloride). Technically, fibers in which the fiber forming substance is in excess of 50% by weight of poly vinyl alcohol and in which the overall vinyl alcohol units along with one or more acetal units are minimum 85% by weight are known as vinylon fiber or polyvinyl alcohol fiber.
Being newly introduced in the market and invented in around 1930s, vinylon fiber is in the introductory phase and is anticipated to witness rapid growth over the course of the forecast period. Among synthetic fibers, vinylon fiber is hydrophilic, i.e. it absorbs moisture. Attributing to this characteristic of vinylon fiber, it is gaining popularity as a substitute to cotton fibers. Vinylon fiber possesses a high Young’s Modulus, low creep along with low elongation. These features, coupled with its enhanced resistance to chemical attack and UV rays, are some of the key properties of vinylon fiber driving its adoption.
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Vinylon Fiber Market: Dynamics
While natural fibers, especially cotton, witness string demand from the textile industry, synthetic fibers are rapidly gaining popularity and are estimated to surpass the worldwide consumption of cotton. Attributing to the habitual consumption of cotton fiber, consumer reluctance to the shift towards synthetic fibers has been noted in several regions. Vinylon fiber offers a cotton-like feel and can, hence, potentially substitute cotton in several applications. Moreover, unlike other synthetic fibers that emit toxic gases on burning, vinylon fiber has a competitive edge of not emitting toxic fumes during combustion. Vinylon fiber is also used in cement reinforcement applications as a replacement for asbestos. Further, it is used as a raw material for alkaline battery electrode separators and has been gaining popularity in automotive and textile industries.
As vinylon fibers have been recently introduced in the market, they face the threat of competition from substitute products, mainly on the basis of cost. Other natural and synthetic fibers have a well-established market, the scope of applications for vinylon fiber remains limited. Thus, the growth of the market is expected to remain moderately paced considering these factors.
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The vinyl fiber market is consolidated in nature with the presence of a limited number of manufacturers in the marketplace. Competition for the manufacturing of vinylon fibers is dense in Japan while that for consumption is significant globally.
Vinylon Fiber Market: Regional Outlook
From a regional perspective, countries in Asia Pacific, such as India, China and Korea, are expected to remain prominent regions in the vinylon fiber market. Japan accounts for a significant share of vinylon fiber production as well as consumption. Europe and North America are not expected to hold significant shares of the vinylon fiber market as the penetration of vinylon fiber in these regions is expected to remain quite low. Middle East & Africa and Latin America are anticipated to register slow to steady growth in the vinylon fiber market.
Some of the market participants identified across the value chain of the global Vinylon fiber market include Nitivy Co., Ltd., Kuraray Co., Ltd., Unitika Ltd., Anhui Wanwei Group, Fujian Fuwei Co., Ltd. and MiniFIBERS, Inc., among others.
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