Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA): Production, Market, Price and its Properties
What is Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)?
Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) thermoplastic materials also known as polyethylene-vinyl-acetate (PEVA), is a copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate. In this formation, the weight percentage is variable ranging from 10 to 40 percent and remaining part is ethylene.
EVA copolymer is primarily of three different types, which differ in their vinyl acetate content and the way in which material is used. This porous elastomeric material is approximately three times more flexible than low-density polyethylene (LDPE) with tensile elongation of 750% and highest melting temperature as 250°F (96°C).
This material is usually considered to be non-toxic in nature and exhibits the properties of LDPE but usually with increased gloss (especially in films) a. It is applicable to wide range of end segment and semi-finished goods.
Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate Pricing Trend
Production of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate is the thermoplastic resins produced by the co-polymerization process of ethylene and vinyl acetate monomer in a high-pressure reactor.
Westlake proves to be specialist in the production of EVA formulation having the vinyl acetate content of up to 18%. They are used for thermoplastic extrusion, film compounding, and foam molding.
Top Companies with Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate Production Capacity
The growing demand for EVA material in various industries has led to the installation of new production capacity. DuPont is the world’s largest EVA production capacity in 2015. The installed capacity was 400 k tons.
The second largest company was Hanwha Chemical with an installed capacity of 310 k tons followed by ExxonMobil with 260 k tons capacity.
Hanwha Chemical to take advantage of economy of scale is setting-up new production capacity. The meet the growing demand for solar EVA cells with high purity and transparency has made Hanwha add more capacity. In 2017, the total install production capacity of Hanwha was 600 k tons making it world‘s topmost company for material EVA production.
Global Market Forecast of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
The global market for EVA is forecasted to grow more than US$ 10bn by 2022. The market was around US$ 7bn in 2016.The market for EVA polymers has witnessed growth in recent years.
These materials have gained popularity over time due to their properties such as transparency, elasticity, low processing temperatures, adhesive property and lower cost.
EVA has around 80% of its basic application in the photovoltaic industry and recently increased investment in solar energy generation has also increased the consumption of EVA materials.
Market Segmentation of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
The market for EVA copolymers has been segmented on the basis of type, application, end-user, and region.
On the basis of Type
- Vinyl Acetate Modified Polyethylene (Low VA Density)
- Thermoplastic Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (Medium VA Density)
- Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Rubber (High VA Density)
On the basis of Application
- Hot Melt Adhesives
- Wire & Cable
- Extrusion Coating
- Solar Cell Encapsulation
- Others (Injection Molding and Medical Tubing)
On the basis of End-User
- Packaging & Paper
- Paints, Coatings & Adhesives
- Electronics & Electrical
- Photovoltaic Panels
- Others (Agriculture and Medical)
On the basis of Geography
- North America (U.S, Canada & Mexico)
- Europe ( U.K, Germany, France, Spain & Italy)
- Asia Pacific ( China, Japan, India, South Korea & Austria)
- LAMEA (Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia & Turkey)
Asia Pacific remains the leader for holding a major share of EVA copolymers in the global market. The countries in this region have witnessed a significant amount of growth in the market due to increased use of EVA films in injection molding, compounding, wire and cables and many other applications.
China and India prove to be the fastest growing markets and are estimated to follow the trend in recent coming years also.
Some of the prominent key players in the EVA market include The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil Corporation, LyondellBasell Industries, Celanese Corporation and Arkema S.A.
Market Drivers of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
The demand for EVA polymers is driven by basic end-user industries including solar power industry, footwear, and growth in foam sector etc. Major factors driving the market demand include:
- Growth in the Packaging industry.
- Economic growth and increased income level.
- Rising demand for material EVA in emerging countries (China and India etc.).
- Increased investment in solar energy generation set-ups.
- Rising demand from different sectors like agriculture, packaging, footwear & foam markets.
Factors restraining the market growth are:
- Fluctuating cost and availability of raw materials.
- Problems associated with usage of EVA in photovoltaic packaging (decomposes on exposure to UV rays and atmospheric water).
Opportunities of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
Growths of EVA resins depend on following opportunities:
- Introduction of Bio-Based Ethylene Vinyl Acetate materials.
- The global expansion of Solar Industry.
Properties of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
EVA polymer has properties similar to the low-density polyethylene polymers with some improvements. Basic properties exhibited by EVA resins are:
- The material provides good clarity and gloss.
- Highly resistant towards stress cracking and UV radiation.
- Low-temperature resistance.
- High friction coefficient.
- It has a distinctive vinegar-like odor.
Physical properties of EVA copolymer
- Melting point – 75°C
- Tensile strength is 0.05-0.2 N/mm2 and notched impact strength is no break Kj/m2
- Density is 0.948 g/ml at 25 °C
- Flash Point – 260°C
- Thermal Coefficient of expansion 160 – 200 x 10-6
- Stability – Stable, Combustible & incompatible with strong oxidizing agents.
- They have very good resistance to Dilute Acids and Alkalis, Aliphatic Hydrocarbons, Alcohols, Oil, and Greases.
- They have poor resistance to Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Halogenated Hydrocarbons.
Uses of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
EVA plastic includes a wide range of end-uses (packaging, bottles and cap liners etc.) and also used as semi-finished good (foam and sheets etc.) in different forms. Various applications of EVA materials for producing a variety of consumer goods are:
EVA Foam & Sheets
Ethylene vinyl acetate is a kind of closed cell foam. It is a soft and durable polymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate commonly used in flooring. It also has other variety of uses (sports equipment, craft and set design etc.).
This material EVA is commonly used to manufacture flip-flops as it is soft in nature without being spongy.
Features of EVA foam materials-
- They are highly weather and chemical resistant
- These materials have low water absorption thus, can easily withstand spills.
- They are resistant towards chemicals.
- It is flexible and durable.
- These foams are usually non-toxic in nature.
Benefits of using EVA Foam-
- They offer ease to work and come in various thickness, colors, and densities.
- It can be easily shaped with help of heat or even glued to other materials.
- These foam materials can be easily painted.
- EVA foams can be easily transported, stored and reinstalled.
- It is easy to clean.
- EVA foams offer a combination of durability, comfort, and usability.
- These materials are very attractive and easily affordable.
How can EVA foam materials be Fabricated?
EVA foam possesses good foam fabrication capabilities. Following methods can be used for fabrication of EVA foams and sheets:
Foam Skiving– Foam skiving is a method to make thinner foam sheets from the raw sheets produced by foaming machinery. Foam skiving is always the first step to the rest of foam fabrication process.
Foam Sawing- This process is used to cut foam sheets into blocks and strips. It is a kind of handy and efficient technique of fabricating EVA foam materials. In the foam, sawing machine sheets are cut into desired length and width. Two kinds of sawing methods are used first, vertical sawing and the second, horizontal sawing.
The end products of these both the kind of sawing machines are foam sheets, blocks, and strips.
Custom Die-cutting- This method of die-cutting is used in different industries such as for paper packaging where steel made die is used for cutting paper box. Same way die-cutting method is also used for foam fabrication. This method is frequently used for fabricating EVA foam material for packaging, foam case inserts, foam profiles and foam gasket pads etc.
Foam Lamination- It is needed where the requirement is for sticky adhesive backing, felt surface, fabric and film backing of EVA foam materials. Two kinds of EVA foam lamination methods are utilized in the process.
The first method is PAS lamination (adhesive lamination) and the second method is heat lamination. In adhesive lamination adhesives are used for lamination and in the other method, heated foam surface is utilized for lamination process.
Foam Thermoforming- Foam thermoforming is done to get more resilient and durable foam. This process is primarily used for making 3D custom foam parts. As thermoforming is itself related to heating and temperatures thus, this technique also works on same principles.
The machines used in the thermoforming process are adjusted according to required heat and temperatures and custom foam parts are formed in the molds under heating and pressure.
Applications of EVA Foam
As EVA foam materials are produced in a variety of colors, texture, and thickness thus, they can also be used for a number of creative uses. These materials can also be used to design range from letters for children’s room to wood grains and even designing carpet bases.
EVA foam offers a variety of end-user applications including exercise mats, flooring, life jackets, flip-flop, props of plays, in trade shows and material studios etc.
Though this foam material is used in variety of end segment uses but major uses of EVA foam comprise of producing following products
- EVA shoe insole
- Swimming Kickboard
- Foam puzzle mats
- EVA foam rollers & Blocks
EVA Foam Tapes- By using techniques such as foam lamination and its slitting capabilities, EVA foam materials can be fabricated into foam tapes (with or without adhesive backs).
These tapes are used in a number of places such as where sealing and cushioning are needed. They also act as a low-cost substitute for a variety of foam rubber tapes including Neoprene, PVC nitrile bend, and many others.
EVA is an elastic copolymer very similar to rubber which is applicable to a number of households and industrial application. As it is considered as an environment-friendly material, which does not use chlorine in its production process and can be easily recycled into new products (playgrounds, mats etc.). It is being widely used in producing vegan shoes.
Benefits of using EVA thermoplastics for producing shoes:
- It provides cushion and spring (rebound) in shoes.
- They increase the resistance of shoes towards hardening and cracking.
- It does not absorb water and stays flexible even in cold temperatures.
- It is also UV resistant.
These days most of the running and casual shoes are produced using EVA. Even few rich brand names including Timberland, Teva, Keen and Patagonia in shoe industry have adopted usage of EVA in manufacturing shoes.
EVA material proves to be one of the best shock absorption materials available today. Thus, most of the prominent brand joggers use this in shoe soles to get a good combination of shock absorption and lightweight.
Features & Benefits of EVA sole:
- This material is highly water and corrosion resistant.
- It offers ease of processing (cutting, gluing, pressing and laminating).
- EVA sole is anti-vibrant (good tensile strength & shock cushioning with high toughness)
- They provide insulation towards cold temperature
- Closed foam sound insulation quality.
EVA materials are being commonly used for the middle sole of shoe parts, outsole & insole of sports shoes and also as soles for slippers and flip-flop.
In General, EVA is applicable for a number of different end-uses such as flexible packaging, heat seal layers, thermal laminations, hose & tubing, blow molded bottles and cap liners etc.
As EVA resins can be easily cut from sheets and molded to any desired shapes they are being used to produce complex end-user goods also. It is applicable to be used for orthotics, cigarettes, surfboard, skim boards and even manufacturing artificial flowers.
They are even used for thermoplastic mouth guards and conditioning or waterproofing leathers.
What is Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate (PEVA)?
PEVA is a non-chlorinated vinyl which proves to be a direct substitute for Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC). As PVC is a known type of carcinogen nowadays it is being avoided wherever possible.
As PEVA seems to be less toxic in nature than PVC it is being used as a substitute for a variety of products (especially household good).
PEVA is being used in a number of a variety of household products including shower curtains, toys, shoes, cosmetic bags, baby bibs, plastic covers, car covers and mattress protection etc.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
EVA has a number of benefits which make it suitable and more preferred thermoplastic material by manufacturers. These Benefits are:
- Excellent heat seal strength.
- Good amount of flexibility even at low temperatures.
- Resilient and crack resistant
- They can be easily processed by using conventional thermoplastic techniques.
However, it also has a certain number of disadvantages which are:
- Poor tensile strength as compare to its substitutes
- Lower resistance to heat deformation
- It has poor chemical resistance and barrier properties as compared to its competitors.