Cyclohexane is manufactured by catalytic hydrogenation of benzene. Cyclohexane is insoluble in water and colorless in nature. Cyclohexane is key element in manufacturing of caprolactum and adipic acid which are intermediates for manufacturing nylon. Cyclohexane is used to produce cyclohexanone and cyclohexanol for nonprecursor use. There are two processes through which cyclohexane can be manufactured, viz., hydrogenation of benzene and cracking of natural gasoline. Cyclohexane can also be used as a solvent, in chemical synthesis and reaction diluents. Cyclohexane is also used as a starting material for KA Oil and can be used as a substitute for benzene in some end-user applications.
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The market for cyclohexane was mainly driven by increasing demand for adipic acid and caprolactum which are key elements for manufacturing Nylon-6,6 and nylon 6 respectively. These fibers are mainly used in automotive and textile industry. The major opportunity for cyclohexane is huge demand and investments for nylon-6,6 in developing and emerging countries such as Saudi Arabia, India and China. However, volatile raw material prices may hamper the growth of the market as most of these materials are downstream products of petrochemicals.
In terms of demand, North America and European countries were leading regions for cyclohexane. However, due to financial downturn and euro zone crisis the market in the European region has suffered. China holds the largest market share for cyclohexane in Asia Pacific region. The demand is large owing to increasing demand for nylon 6, nylon-6,6 which is manufactured from caprolactum and adipic acid. The demand for cyclohexane is likely to grow from the Middle East region due to rising number of nylon polymer facilities. Regions such as Latin America, South America and Central Europe are expected to exhibit lower demand for cyclohexane.
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Some of the key manufacturers in the cyclohexane market are Sunoco Chemicals, BASF SE, ExxonMobil Chemical, Cheveron Philips Chemical Company and Huntsman Corporation among others.