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Polymers are a class of natural or synthetic substances consisting of several repetitive molecular structures. Polymers can be characterized into three major groups as thermoplastics, thermosets and thermoplastic elastomers, based on their functionality. Thermoplastics are polymers that soften on heating and harden when cooled. Many thermoplastics can be repeatedly heated and cooled to change their physical forms, enabling a high degree of recyclability for thermoplastic products. Thermosets will deform or burn when heated and are not suitable for recycling into different forms with their original compositions. Thermoplastic elastomers are primarily thermoplastics that exhibit rubber-like elasticity. They are typically copolymeric compounds that deliver properties of both rubber and plastic. Naturally extracted or synthetically derived from crude oil downstreams, polymers are used in all industry verticals due to their light weight, easy processability, diverse grades, and easy customization to suit the industry needs. Some of the key trends driving the polymer industry are circular economy, recycling & reuse, bio-based raw materials, utilization of the existing sugar, starch & cellulosic platforms for key upstream chemicals, biodegradable product substitution of crude-based synthetics, decarbonization, and energy efficiency.
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