Polymer gels, also known as hydrogels, are filled with solvents such as water. These gels have ability to deform significantly due to the presence of solvents. Polymer gels consist of a three dimensional cross-linked polymer network. The elastic cross-linked polymer network imparts solidity to the gel as it holds a liquid solvent. These gels can shrink or expand up to 1000 times in volume. Polymer gels can easily be deformed through external stimuli and generate force or execute work on the external environment. By controlling the degree of cross-linking, it is possible to alter the property of the material and optimize it for different applications. In this way, a wide range of applications can be served through the same polymer. Polyvinyl alcohol, poly acrylic acid, poly acrylonitrile, polyacrylamide, silicone, and polyarylates are the commonly used polymer gels in the industry. Polymer gels are used in a wide range of applications of various end-use industries such as robotics, personal care, pharmaceuticals, food, paints & coatings, and healthcare. Recent developments in drug delivery systems have led to a significant rise in the demand for polymer gels.
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The personal care segment is anticipated to be the dominating application segment in the polymer gel market. Rise in demand for various personal care products globally is expected to boost the polymer gel market throughout the forecast period. Advancing technology in application segments such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare are projected to be the key driving factors of the polymer gel market. Contact lens is a prominent product in the healthcare segment. Silicone-based hydrogels are widely employed in the daily-wear disposable soft contact lenses. The emerging trend of using colored contact lens is anticipated to impact the polymer gel market. Other applications such as food and paints & coatings are also expected to account for a significant share of polymer gel market.
Polymer gels offer numerous structural and mechanical advantages. These gels exhibit exclusive properties such as their super-absorbing property which is a key driver of the polymer gel market. This is on account of its use in the growing personal care applications such as diapers and sanitary products. Changing consumer preferences and increase in awareness about personal hygiene have contributed to the demand for such products. Moreover, advancements in the medical industry have impacted the polymer gel market. Usage of polymer gels in the drug delivery application is a key segment of medical technology. Polymer gels assist in sustained and targeted release of pharmaceuticals, both increasing the effect of the drug itself and lowering side effects at the same time. Thus, the advancing medical industry in the field of drug delivery systems is anticipated to boost the polymer gel market during the forecast period.
In terms of geography, the global polymer gel market can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The polymer gel market in developed regions such as North America and Europe is anticipated to expand significantly during the forecast period due to the rapidly progressing medical and healthcare industry in the region. In North America, the U.S. is expected to dominate the polymer gel market throughout the forecast period, followed by the countries in Europe. Growth in population and rise in personal care industries in Asia Pacific are projected to be the driving factors of the polymer gel market in the region. Latin America is estimated to provide lucrative opportunities to the polymer gel market. However, Middle East & Africa is expected to grow at a sluggish rate during the forecast period owing to the slowly developing medical and health care industry in the region.
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The global polymer gel market is slightly consolidated, with the U.S. and China as the prominent manufacturers of composites. However, there are several manufacturers operating in the polymer gel market across the world among whom the key players include Polygel Industries Pvt. Ltd., Kraton Corporation., SILIPOS HOLDING LLC., and Esschem Europe Ltd.
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