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Polymer Nanocomposite market to grow well globally, particularly in USA

Nanocomposites display enhanced physical, thermal and other unique properties, which assist in achieving high-level performance across various applications. They have properties that are superior to conventional microscale composites and can be synthesized using simple and inexpensive techniques. Polymer nanocomposite markets that have been slow in development till date, seem ready to take off with increasing application in the automotive and packaging sector. As commercial interest has moved beyond pilot programs and niche applications, it appears that nanocomposites are finally ready for a breakthrough in these markets. By 2011, nanocomposite demand will reach 150,000 tpa in USA as per Freedonia. Growth will be fueled by declining prices of nanomaterials and composites, as production levels increase and technical issues concerning the dispersion of nanoadditives in the compounds are overcome. By 2025, it is expected that nanocomposites will be a US$9 bln market, with volumes nearing 5 mln tons. While thermoplastics currently comprise virtually all demand for nanocomposites, compounds based on thermoset resins will eventually become a substantial part of the market, constituting 20% of demand in 2025. Over the near term, the most rapid gains will be seen in higher-priced resins such as engineering plastics, in applications where the additional cost of nanomaterials is not a critical factor. Looking forward, however, nanocomposites based on commodity plastics, such as polypropylene, polyethylene and PVC will dominate the market. Among thermosets, nanocomposites will make the strongest impact as enhancements for reinforced polyester and epoxy compounds. Packaging and motor vehicles, two key early markets for nanocomposites, will account for nearly 50% of total demand in 2011, and 40% of demand in 2020. However, by 2025, electrical and electronics applications will gain in prominence, as nanotube-based composites will penetrate a sizable portion of the market as a substitute for other conductive materials. Construction will emerge as a significant market as nanocomposites begin to replace fiber-reinforced plastics in a number of applications. Nanocomposites are expected to penetrate a number of key packaging applications, including soft drinks, beer, food, pharmaceuticals and electronics, driven by the improved barrier, strength and conductive properties that they offer. In motor vehicles, automotive manufacturers are increasingly turning to nanocomposites in an effort to replace higher-priced materials, increase production speed of parts and reduce motor vehicle weight in a number of exterior, interior and underhood applications.
In 2006, nearly all nanomaterial demand consisted of carbon black in conductive composites. However, as material and production costs of clay-based nanocomposites fall, clays will rise to account for over half of all nanomaterials demand by volume in 2025. Similarly, a decline in price will enable the rapid commercialization of carbon nanotubes, which will eventually gain over 60% of the nanocomposite materials market in value terms.
  US NANOCOMPOSITES DEMAND (million pounds)   
% Annual Growth
  Nanocomposites Demand

According to a report by Global Industry Analysts Inc, global nanocomposites market will reach 989 mln lbs by 2010. Nanocomposites play a significant role in one of the most promising technologies known as nanotechnology. Worldwide demand for nanocomposites is increasing rapidly in packaging, automotive, electrical, and other applications due to their superior thermal, electrical conductive and other properties. Development of industry related nanocomposites with enhanced features and expanding research activities in development of new nanocomposites are some of the factors that would drive nanocomposites market in the coming years. United States and Europe dominate the global nanocomposites market, with a collective share of over 80% of the volume sales for 2008. The markets are also projected to witness rapid growth, driven by enhanced volume consumption of nanocomposites in various applications. Research institutions and companies are engaged in the exploration of efficient methods for developing nanocomposites in large volumes, and at lower cost. Applications of nanocomposite plastics are diversified, with automotive and packaging accounting for a majority of the consumption. Increased R&D activities and advent of innovative materials is expected to widen the application areas for nanocomposites. Packaging segment represents the largest end-use market for nanocomposites in the world, with consumption estimated at 284 mln pounds for 2008. Automotive segment is projected to generate the fastest demand for nancomposites during the period 2001-2010. Rise in demand and easy accessibility of nanocomposites would lead to their extensive usage in a wide range of applications.
Nanocomposite research is widespread and is conducted by companies and universities across the globe. Several global plastic suppliers have already commercialized products based on nanocomposite materials, with majority of the efforts focused on either nylons or polyolefins. Other industries are also optimistic about the future role of these novel materials, attributed to the growing volume of research studies being conducted across the world. The development of innovative nanocomposite polyolefins, and an array of other resin matrixes and nanofillers is also expected to bolster the market scenario. Technological advancements would reduce manufacturing costs, enabling the development of low-cost nanocomposites.
Major players profiled in the report include 3M ESPE, Arkema Group, BASF AG, Cabot Corporation, Cyclics Corporation, DSM Somos, Du Pont (E.I) De Nemours & Company, Elementis Specialties Inc, eSpin Technologies Inc., Evonik Degussa GmbH, Foster Corporation, Hybrid Plastics, Industrial Nanotech Inc, Inframat Corporation, InMat Inc, Nanocor Incorporated, Nanodynamics Inc, Nanoledge SA, Nanophase Technologies Corporation, Nanova LLC, Powdermet Inc, Showa Denko K.K., Rockwood Additives Ltd, TNO, Unitika Ltd, and Zyvex.

Continuous demand from different end-use sectors, development of advanced and superior nanocomposites would stimulate their growth. Need for new and better nanocomposites by end users is one of the major reasons expected to drive the development of new array of nanocomposites. Identifying potential markets, intensifying research activities, and government funding for R&D operations constitute major factors in the commercialization of nanocomposites. A few nanocomposites have already reached the marketplace, while a few others are on the verge, and many continue to remain in the laboratories of various research institutions and companies.
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