HOUSTON — North American EPDM rubber demand is expected to increase 3.1 percent by 2002, in spite of challenges from new polyolefin materials created through metallocene technology, according to Balaji Singh, president of Houston's Chemical Market Resources Inc. consulting firm.
Ethylene propylene diene monomer use will increase most substantially in single-ply roofing applications, which will grow 4.5 percent, according to Singh, who spoke at the CMAI World Petrochemical Conference, held April 1-2 in Houston.
Total annual EPDM demand will climb from 628 million pounds to 733 million pounds in that period. Exxon Corp. of Houston is North America's largest EPDM maker, with 29.1 percent of the market.
Technological challenges will come from companies such as DuPont Dow Elastomers of Wilmington, Del., which successfully has introduced commercial grades of metallocene-based EPDM into the market, Singh said.
``This is the first and most significant development in the new era of merging polyolefins with EP rubbers,'' Singh said of the DuPont Dow products.