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How the Demand for High-Temperature Resistant Polymers Enhances the Growth Statistics of Polyimide Fiber Market


How the Demand for High-Temperature Resistant Polymers Enhances the Growth Statistics of Polyimide Fiber Market

With biodegradable and eco-friendly fibers scoring an edge over synthetic polymers of late, the polyimide fiber market has been observing a renewed traction worldwide. In the last couple of years, polymers and advanced materials industry giants have faced a series of challenges pertaining to the integrity of various polymer products, a factor that has propelled the trend of natural fibers across various industries. Polyimide fiber has been identified as the most widely approved eco-friendly polymer owing to its exceptional characteristics including high decomposition temperature (560 degree Celsius), nonflammable, UV and radiation resistance, and relatively lower fire damage compared to aramid fiber.

On the research front as well, various scientific evaluations of polyimide fiber have made their presence felt, which are likely to contribute toward industrial development. Due to their aromatic structure, polyimide fibers boast of low flammability and brilliant chemical resistance while being extremely light in weight and these factors have made PI fiber market an attractive commercial proposition across the chemical industry.

Polyimide Fiber Market | Applications in the Chemical Industry

Applications in the chemical industry have indeed been cited as one of the chief arenas for the polyimide fiber industry over the past few years. One of the prominent reasons for the same being product’s massive use for filtration purposes in the industry where hot gases are involved. Since PI fibers are highly resistant to chemicals, they can be used as a supreme alternative for conventional filters generally used in chemical business space that are susceptible to high degradation thereby delivering reduced operational efficiency.

In fact, the use of PI fibers eases the performance of extreme processes while also augmenting the chemical plant’s overall productivity. Looking into these aspects, various chemical giants have begun brainstorming for the development of varied types of PI fibers to be used in chemical industries and elsewhere.

In a recent turn of events, one of the major chemical industry players- Evonik, had in late-2019 announced the launch of its new polyimide fiber named P84 HT, given the massive demands from various industries. The newly introduced product has received high acclamation owing to its improved mechanical stability and flexibility at constant high operating temperatures. In lieu of the aforementioned features, P84 HT fibers are typically developed to be used in a wide range of applications right from filter media for high-temperature filtration to thermal insulation and protective clothing.

COVID-19 and Polyamide Fibers

Given that polyimide fibers are massively being used in protective clothing, the recent trend for these is the outbreak of COVID-19 infection spread. The dreaded coronavirus pandemic, which emerged from the Wuhan province of China has to date claimed more than a million lives, leaving various businesses paralyzed. COVID-19 infection is considered to be a novel respiratory infection that is highly communicable, and this calls for use of proper protective equipment like face masks and PPE kits which could help in curbing the spread of this disease. In this regard, N95 masks are being currently deemed to be massively used protective equipment subject to their ability to restrict about 80% of aerosol particles.

Although N95 masks are considered highly effective, researchers are exploring the possibility of developing a membrane that can efficiently filter particles the size of SARS-CoV-2 and could potentially be replaced on an N95 after almost every use. In one such instance, a group of researchers reported on ACS nano that they have designed a membrane that could be attached to the N95 masks and later removed to prevent minuscule of particles to enter the respiratory tract. For this, researchers initially developed a silicon-based, porous template via lithography and chemical etching processes, and placed it over a polyimide film, standing as a barrier for the entrance of ultra-nano particles.

Also, recently a research team from City University, Hong Kong has successfully designed graphene face masks boasting of anti-bacterial efficacy of 80 percent which can only be improved to almost 100% with exposure to sunlight for just 10 minutes. An important thing to note here is that these masks can also be produced via the use of polyimide films. Speaking of which, it was reported that direct writing on carbon-containing polyimide films using a commercial carbon dioxide infrared laser system would produce 3D porous graphene, exhibiting similar graphene-like properties.

On the basis of the aforementioned, it is quite overt that although polyimide fibers or films are not directly used as a protective agent against dreaded COVID-19 infection, they still are highly important to improve the efficiency of PPE kits including face masks.



Making matters worse

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to alter lives around the world, predators have seen opportunities to exploit the global health crisis by marketing and shipping counterfeit medical equipment, devices, and pharmaceuticals. In the few months since the beginning of the pandemic, illicit trade in counterfeit medical goods is both widespread and global in nature.

Authorities in the UAE shut down two factories, finding 40,000 fake sanitizers that were actually body sprays. In Cambodia, authorities seized three tons of fake sanitizer and nearly 17,000 gallons of fake alcohol. Australia’s Border Force intercepted shipments of counterfeit and otherwise faulty personal protective equipment.

Playing whack-a-mole with counterfeit goods

EUROPOL has cautioned that fake blood-screening tests, sanitizers, and pharmaceutical products are increasing in volume in the EU as criminals take advantage of shortages of genuine medical products. EUROPOL is monitoring the trade in counterfeit and substandard products by “listening” to social media platforms, following conversations that mention fake products. The agency reports many new online platforms have cropped up in response to coronavirus to profit illegally from illicit trade in fake medical goods.

Enforcement activity has also ramped up in the United States in response to the significant increase in criminals attempting to capitalize on the pandemic. In mid-April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Operation Stolen Promise, a joint effort by experts in global trade, financial fraud and cyber investigations to combat smuggling of counterfeit safety equipment and test kits. The operation quickly shut down over 11,000 COVID-19 domain names for illicit websites. After seizing test kits at an Indianapolis express consignment facility, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced it is “targeting imports and exports — mainly in the international mail and express consignment cargo environments — that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods”.

More data, better enforcement?

In early May, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations announced an unprecedented partnership with private sector companies including Amazon and Alibaba to combat price gougers and scammers online. But will the effort be sufficient? The pandemic has exposed how vulnerable consumers are and how difficult the challenges are for law enforcement, prompting new discussion of potential changes to data collection practices that will better safeguard consumers while aiding law enforcement. Policymakers are also considering ways to shift more burden to the private sector engaged in online sales and trade.

The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Online Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 13. The sponsors noted that with the pandemic causing Americans to stay home, online commercial activity has increased, but that products sold online are not sufficiently transparent. The COOL Online Act would require that buyers of products sold online be told the country where the product was manufactured and where the seller is located.

CBP is currently conducting the 321 E-Commerce Data Pilot which requires private sector participants in the pilot program to transmit a significant amount of data to CBP regarding products shipped to the United States. What is yet unclear is whether companies in the supply chain and e-commerce ecosystems will be required to verify that the information submitted to CBP is accurate and whether they will be required to take the step of rejecting products or packages before facilitating shipment to the United States.

Such a requirement obligates private sector entities to take some measure to screen and prevent the export of non-compliant or suspect goods before they leave the country of export. Absent such an obligation, most, if not all, of the burden will remain on CBP – and its counterparts around the world – to protect public safety.

Countering the counterfeiters

Medical communities around the world are still grappling with a virus that has no known cure while law enforcement agencies work to combat the growing volume of counterfeit and substandard medical equipment and pharmaceutical goods marketed by criminals. Meanwhile, international crime watchdog INTERPOL has ominously issued a warning that it expects global markets to be flooded with fake pharmaceuticals as soon as a vaccine does become available.

The policy landscape continues to shift in various ways in the wake of this health crisis. Governments are actively engaging with the private sector regarding potential changes to the collection and sharing of data — and, how both should act on that data — to more effectively prevent counterfeit and illicit goods from even leaving the country of origin in the first place.


Tim Trainer

Tim Trainer was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He is a past president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. Tim is now the principal at Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C., and Galaxy Systems, Inc.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.