Global Thermally Conductive Polymers Market – Insights
The global thermally conductive polymers market is projected to reach US$ 430.7 million by 2027 witnessing a CAGR of 13.1% over the forecast period. This growth is attributed to growing end-use industries such as electrical & electronics, automotive, aerospace & defense, and medical industries. Moreover, increasing demand for compact, smart, inexpensive, and high performance products is expected to drive growth of the electronics industry, which in turn is expected to propel demand for thermally conductive polymers over the forecast period.
On the basis of product type, thermally conductive polymers can be classified into polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyamide (PA), polycarbonate (PC), polyethylenimine (PEI), polysulfone (PSU), polyether ether ketone (PEEK), polyolefin, epoxy, silicone, polyurethane, and others. Other products consist of thermoplastic elastomers and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
The polyamide segment is expected to witness a faster growth rate during the forecast period. This is attributed to good flow properties of PA, which enables it to be easily molded into complicated shapes with high surface to volume ratios. For instance, Osram — a major lighting company — uses Stanyl TC (thermally conductive polyamide 46 of Royal DSM) in heat sinks of large LED down lights. The material is used as an alternative for aluminum due to its molding properties, which enables it to be shaped into complicated geometries that help in removing heat from LED light source.
Lower thermal conductivity and higher filler loading of polymers compared to metals is projected to hamper the market growth. However, technological advancements in the industry are expected to boost demand for thermally conductive polymers over the forecast period. For instance, according to a study, ‘Hybrid conductive filler/polycarbonate composites with enhanced electrical and thermal conductivities for bipolar plate applications’, published by Polymer Composites Journal in 2018, a triple-filler system of carbon nanotube, carbon fiber, and graphite was developed and analyzed for its thermal properties. The results showed that this hybrid filler exhibits good thermal as well as electrical conductivity. Favorable growth of end-use industries across the globe creates a high growth opportunity for manufacturers in the thermally conductive polymers market.. For instance, according to the Automobile Industry Pocket Guide 2017 / 2018 published by European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, the global motor vehicle production reached 96.1 million units in 2016 from 91.6 million units in 2015.
The global thermally conductive polymers market was valued at US$ 141.8 million in 2018, and is expected to register a CAGR of 13.1% in terms of revenue over the forecast period (2019 – 2027).
Figure 1. Global Thermally Conductive Polymers Market Share (%), By Region, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018-19
North America is the fastest growing market and accounted for the largest market share of around 43.8 % in 2018. This is owing to significant growth of various end-use industries such as electrical & electronics, automotive, and aerospace & defense in the region. For instance, according to Aerospace Industries Association, the U.S. aerospace & defense industry generated US$ 872 billion in sales in 2016, which increased from US$ 604.7 billion in 2015.
Furthermore, key players in the market are focused on developing advanced technologies and superior-grade materials to enhance their market share. For instance, the paper – ‘Highly thermally conductive yet electrically insulating polymer/boron nitride nanosheets nanocomposite films for improved thermal management capability’— published by American Chemical Society in December 2018 — reported an advanced nanocomposite polymer, which contains boron nitride nanosheets as a filler material. According to the research, the polymer exhibits high thermal conductivity along with excellent electrical insulation. The research results also stated that this nano polymer composite can be easily incorporated in transistors to uniformly dissipate the heat.
Figure 2. Global Thermally Conductive Polymers Market Share (%), By Filler Type, 2018
Source Coherent Market Insights, 2018-19
Among filler type, carbon-based fillers segment held significant market share of 34.0% in the global thermally conductive polymers market in 2018. The segment growth is driven by beneficial properties of carbon-based fillers such as abundant availability, low cost, and easy functionalization.
Key players operating in the global thermally conductive polymers market are adopting various growth strategies such as mergers & acquisitions and business expansion to enhance their market share. For instance, in October 2016, Celanese Corporation acquired SO.F.TER Group (manufacturer of engineering thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers). The acquisition is expected to help Celanese Corporation to enhance its product portfolio and expand its global presence.
Major players operating in the global thermally conductive polymers market include, RTP Company, PolyOne Corporation, Celanese Corporation, SABIC, Covestro AG, Royal DSM, Mitsubishi Engineering-Plastics Corporation, HELLA GmbH & Co., and Torray Industries, Inc.
Thermally conductive polymers are used as an alternative for metals and cermaics in heat sensitive applications. They find application in various end-use industries such as electronics, automotive, aerospace & defense, and medical. Key players in the market are adopting different business strategies such as mergers and acquisitions to expand the global footprint. For instance, in January 2019, Celanese Corporation, a chemical and specialty materials company, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Next Polymers Ltd., one of India’s largest engineering thermoplastics (ETP) compounders. This acquisition is expected to complement Celanese Corporation’s rapidly growing Indian business of ETP.
Among end-use industry, electrical & electronics segment is expected to witness significant growth in the market over the forecast period. Growing consumer electronics industry, new product launches, and introduction of cutting edge technologies is driving growth of the segment in the thermally conductive polymers market. For instance, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), consumer electronics market in the U.S reached around US$ 377 billion in 2018, with a 6% increase compared to 2017.
North Ameica held a significant market share of 43.8% in 2018 due to increasing need for heat dissipation in various end-use industries such as electrical & electronics, aerospace & defence, and automotive. Moreover, increasing demand for high performance and light-weight products is driving growth of the market for thermally conductive polymers in the region.
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