Developments in Novel Materials Research Provides the Platform for Growth of Nanocomposites

The global market for Nanocomposites is projected to reach 4.7 billion pounds (lbs) by 2022, driven by the growing importance shed on the role played by materials with novel properties in driving innovation and supporting industrial, business and societal growth.

Advanced materials are vital to all knowledge economies as they influence innovation and competiveness in a broad range of technologies and industrial sectors in addition to contributing towards high value manufacturing and addressing important challenges in areas such as mobility, healthcare and energy. Materials science and engineering is thereby attracting massive investments as industries and businesses across the globe struggle to tackle advanced application challenges and regulatory restrictions imposed on the use of conventional materials. There is also strong government and political emphasis on promoting materials research and development activity. In the United States, the "Materials Genome Project" initiated by the U.S. and funded government is a program designed to accelerate the discovery and development of new cutting edge materials through advanced scientific computing and innovative design and manipulation on a molecular level.

The scale of material engineering has evolved from macromaterials, micromaterials to nanomaterials. Nanomaterials is defined as engineering of numerous classes of materials at the molecular level to customize structural, functional, mechanical, optical, and electronic properties and characteristics through the use of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology flaunts the potential to bring true multi-functionality to materials. There is strong demand for multi-functional materials in modern manufacturing where materials to meet product specifications need to have all desirable multiple mechanical, thermal, flammability, and electromagnetic properties.

Nanocomposites, a sub-sector of nanomaterials, are essentially nanoscale matrixes where nanoparticles of organic and inorganic materials are added to elicit changes in material quality, properties and characteristics. Nanocomposites as candidate materials have the capability to significantly impact the development of new generation transistors, batteries, integrated circuits, optical, satellite, and communication, and GPS components, and other fields of engineering and design. As the focus on designing new materials with tailored performance gets bigger, nanocomposites will become a prominent area of research, development and commercial exploitation. Major factors poised to drive growth in the market include strong demand for reinforced plastics and the ensuing interest in nanofiller-reinforced polymer nanocomposites; growing role played by nanocomposites in the packaging industry's migration to flexible packaging structures; focus on automotive lightweighting and the resulting demand for nanocomposite plastic component & parts; and growing scientific research of polymer nanocomposites in energy storage & conversion in lithium batteries, supercapacitors & fuel cells.

The United States represents the largest market worldwide. Emerging markets are forecast to emerge as the fastest growing markets with a CAGR of 21.9% over the analysis period, led by factors such as stable economic growth, increasing use of bionanocomposites in biomedical applications, recent move made by countries such as China and South Korea in stepping up nanotechnology research and development, growing number of research centers and universities in the field of plastics nanocomposites, and successful development of innovative modeling approaches for understanding, predicting and manipulating microstructures and their properties.

Major players in the market include 3M, Arkema Group, BASF SE, Cabot Corporation, DSM DowDuPont Inc., Elementis Specialties Inc., eSpin Technologies Inc., Evonik Industries AG, Foster Corporation, Hybrid Plastics Inc., Inframat Corporation, InMat Inc., Nanocor Inc., Nanocyl S.A., Nanophase Technologies Corporation, Nyacol Nano Technologies Inc., Powdermet, Inc., RTP Company, Showa Denko K.K., TNO, Unitika Ltd., and Zyvex Technologies, among others.

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