Nearly all purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is consumed in polyester production including polyester fibre, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle resin and polyester film.
The growth in PTA consumption has been driven by strong polyester fibre and PET bottle resin demand. Global polyester demand had been growning by around 6-8%/year but has been impacted by the economic slow-down. PET resin demand has also been hit by the move to lighter bottles and a switch away from bottled water to tap water.
A major challenge facing the PTA industry is the growing overcapacity caused by the huge capacity additions being implemented in China and elsewhere. These expansions will impact the global supply/demand balance with surplus PTA capacity sharply increasing by 2009.
Modern technologies produce purified terephthalic acid by the catalytic liquid phase oxidation of paraxylene in acetic acid, in the presence of air. The process uses manganese or cobalt acetate as a catalyst.
Purified terephthalic acid occurs as a white, crystalline powder with a slightly acidic odour. PTA is a low-risk hazard to health but prolonged exposure should be avoided.
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Nearly all purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is consumed in polyester production including polyester fibre, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle resin and polyester film. For most grades of polyester used in textiles and food and beverage containers, it is more economical to use PTA than the alternative dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) intermediate.
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Terephthalic acid was first produced commercially by the oxidation of paraxylene (PX) using dilute nitric acid and, later, air. These older processes provided impure terephthalic acid and purification was achieved via esterification to dimethyl terephthalate (DMT).
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