Mesitylene or 1, 3, 5-trimethylbenzene is a derivative of benzene with three methyl substituents positioned symmetrically around the benzene ring. Mesitylene is a colorless liquid, insoluble in water with a sweet aromatic odor and is prepared by methyl alkylation of xylene over solid acid catalyst.
The traditional source of mesitylene is coal tar. The three aromatic hydrogen atoms of mesitylene are in identical chemical shift environments. Therefore, these three atoms only give a single peak at 6.8 ppm. Mesitylene is thus, used as an internal standard in NMR samples that contain aromatic protons.
Multiple applications of mesitylene in various end-use industries is projected to boost demand for mesitylene over the forecast period. For instance, mesitylene is used as precursor to diverse fine chemicals. It is oxidized by trifluoroperacetic acid to produce mesitol, which is used to prevent problems with pitch, to fix basic dyestuff and to reduce mottling. Uvitic acid is obtained by oxidizing mesitylene. It is also used as an additive and component of some avgas (aviation gasoline) blends. Mesitylene is used in the laboratory as a specialty solvent. It can also act as a ligand in organometallic chemistry, such as the organomolybdenum complex.
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Moreover, major factors driving the mesitylene market growth include its application as an intermediate. Mesitylene is mainly used as a precursor to 2, 4, 6-trimethylaniline, a precursor to colorants. Color and dyestuff market is rapidly expanding industry owing to demand from numerous end-use industries. According to Coherent Market Insights (CMI), the global dyestuff market for cotton alone was valued at US$ 2.21 billion (revenue) and 830.7 kilo tons (volume) in 2016. Wide applications of pigments and colorants in the textile, food and beverages, and automotive industries is increasing the demand for abundant raw material. This in turn, is expected to boost demand for reagents for colorants such as mesitylene, thus boosting growth of the mesitylene market.
Major factors restraining growth of the global mesitylene market include its toxicity and hazards impacts on animals. According to a study published by Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, in 2006, mesitylene vapors exert neurotoxic and irritating effects on animals. The same study concluded that the irritating effect of mesitylene on the respiratory tract of mice is four and eight times higher than that of xylene and toluene, respectively. It also showed that mesitylene was found in the liver, lungs, kidneys, and blood of rats after repeated inhalation exposure to mesitylene.
According to the global mesitylene market analysis, North America held a dominant position in the market in 2017. This growth is attributed to high presence of chemical manufacturers in the region such as The DOW Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, and PPG Industries. The market in the region is projected to maintain its dominance throughout the forecast period.
Among grades, the industrial grade segment is projected to gain major traction over the forecast period, owing to increasing demand for mesitylene in the chemical and research industry as regent and solvent.
The electronics segment is forecasted to be the fastest-growing segment in the global mesitylene market. In the electronics industry, mesitylene is widely used as a developer for photopatternable silicones due to its solvent properties. According to German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, in 2015, the global electrical and electronics market was valued to US$ 4.666 billion with a share of Asia alone accounting for 59%. Such factors represents immense growth opportunities for electronic segment.
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Key players operating in the global mesitylene market include Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc., The DOW Chemical Company, Versalis / EniChem, Refinery of Sinopec Jinling (Sinopec), EMD Performance Materials, Toyo Gosei Co., Ltd, Jiangsu Jiuri Chemical Co., Ltd., Nantong Dingji Chemical Technology Co., Ltd.Jurong Anbei Chemical Co., Ltd., and Jinzhou Petrochemical Co., Ltd