To cater to the booming population, which is set to increase to 10.9 billion by 2100, as per the United Nations (UN), construction activities are burgeoning around the world. For instance, in 2019, India announced plans to invest $650 billion in infrastructure development, while Germany invested $129.6 billion in 2017 for 189 construction projects. The funds are being used to developed railways, roads, water reservoirs, buildings, bridges, airports, tunnels, and sewer systems.
P&S Intelligence credits this massive infrastructure development while forecasting that the polymer concrete market, which valued $1,975.8 million in 2017, will experience a 7.1% CAGR during the forecast period, to reach $2,964.0 million by 2023. Polymer concrete, which is primarily made from sand, water, crushed stones, and gravel, contains a binder made with an epoxy, vinyl ester, or polyester base to harden in its place. The high compressive strength and strong resistance to impact, chemicals, freezing, thawing, and abrasion offered by this material make it suitable for specialized construction.
Apart from new construction, polymer concrete is also witnessing high-volume consumption in maintenance and repair activities. For instance, repairing airport runways is a time-sensitive job, as any delay can lead to huge flight cancellations. Therefore, rapid-patch polymer concrete is used to repair the runway as quickly as possible, so that flight operations are not impacted much. For the same reason and because of all the advantages mentioned above, the material is used in curbstones, nuclear power plants, marine works, roads, and waterproofing of buildings.
With technological advancements, polymer concrete is being reinforced with fibers of boron, glass, carbon, and numerous natural materials to make it stronger and more effective. This is why fiber-reinforced polymer concrete is finding widespread usage in helicopters, aircraft, civil structures, offshore oil & gas platforms, and even biomedical devices. As the awareness about the benefits of such advanced materials increases, they will find an even more diverse application in varied sectors.
The categories under the type segment of the polymer concrete market are vinyl ester, polyester, epoxy, and others, which include acrylate, latex, phenolic formaldehyde, furan, carbamide, and acetone formaldehyde. Among these, the largest share during the historical period (2013–2017) was held by the epoxy category, as the high vibration resistance, high impact strength, and good bonding ability with metallic and concrete surfaces make the epoxy variant popular among infrastructure development companies. Due to these reasons, the epoxy category is also expected to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
Polymer concrete of all types finds application in pump bases, containments & waste containers, trench drains, flooring blocks, outdoor furniture, park benches, overlays and solid surface counters. Among these, much of the material is used during the construction of containments & waste containers, as polymer concrete exhibits considerable durability and allows for the easy maintenance of containments and waste containers. Apart from these, the usage of polymer concrete is also increasing in flooring blocks, as flooring blocks are being used in all the floors while constructing buildings.
Presently, in 2017, the polymer concrete market was dominated by North America, in terms of value, owing to the rising repair activities for existing buildings and other structures. The highest CAGR in the market during the forecast period will be exhibited by the Middle East and Africa, due to the increasing pace of infrastructure development in the region. Many regional countries are giving a boost to their education, manufacturing, IT, and travel & tourism sectors, by building infrastructure, to cut their economic dependence on oil trade.
Hence, the demand for polymer concrete will continue increasing because of its various advantages over conventional concrete.