Paraxylene, also known as PX or P-Xylene, is an aromatic hydrocarbon compound, derived particularly from benzene. Paraxylene is a colourless, toxic, sweet-smelling and highly flammable chemical at room temperature. It is found naturally in petroleum and coal tar. Paraxylene or P-Xylene is an isomer of xylene compound, derived from benzene. Some of the other isomers of xylene include O-xylene and M-xylene, according to a report by Persistence Market Research.
Paraxylene finds its largest application in large-scale manufacturing of terephthalic acid for polyester; also known as parylene. The production process of paraxylene is one of the most complicated among all the chemicals; simple crystallization of the xylene normally led to complex purification process owing to the formation of eutectic mixtures.
It is manufactured by catalytic reforming of naptha, a petroleum derivative, and separated in a series of adsorption or crystallization, distillation, and reaction processes from ethyl benzene, o-xylene, and m-xylene. The melting point of Paraxylene is highest among other isomers of xylene.
Based on end-user application, the global paraxylene market can be broadly categorized as dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), purified terephthalic acid (PTA), dibutyl phathalate xylene (Di-PX), and others. PTA accounted for the largest share in the paraxylene market in 2013 owing to their increased use in the polyester chain. On the other hand, DMT was the fasted-growing segment in 2013.