Advanced Materials

High quality materials that offer superior desired characteristics for the intended purpose are called advanced materials. These can either be a single product or a combination of products. Manufacturers are focusing on developing new advanced materials as well as fine tuning already existing products to enhance its desired properties.The high quality of these materials enables its usage in a wide range of applications, including applied physics, electronics, medical devices, green packaging, and wastewater treatment, among others. Some of the popular advanced materials enabling manufacturers to meet rising demand are advanced steel and aluminum alloys and a variety of ceramics that include silicon nitride, toughened zirconia and aluminum nitride, among others. Researchers have also developed a range of advanced fibers such as Dyneema, Vectran, M5, and Zylon PBO which is estimated to have a positive impact on the advanced materials market.

Advanced materials provide improved chemical and physical properties, including high stiffness coupled with lightweight, superior strength towards reinforcing fiber, high resistance to chemicals and temperature, dimensional stability, and high flexibility, among others. Some of the end-use industries of advanced material markets are aerospace, electronics and semiconductor, automotive, and medical devices. Advanced composites can be segmented on the basis of its matrix phase into ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), polymer matrix composites (PMCs) and metal matrix composites (MMCs).Europe is the largest market for advanced materials, due to rampant growth of various end-use industries in the region. North America is estimated to be the fastest growing region in the advanced materials market, followed by Asia Pacific, mainly due to major investments in R&D by major players, rampant demand for high-tech materials across various sectors flourishing in the region and growing concerns about environmental safety. For example advanced materials are used in wastewater treatment due to features such as enhanced redox, strong adsorption, and photocatalytic properties. Polyvinyl chloride membrane reactor works as an advanced material that helps in ground water safety by removal of nitrate. 

Extensive R&D in the field of advanced materials has led to the development of enhanced product range of advanced materials market. Some of the newly developed products in the advanced materials market are superior strength polymers (PPS, PEEK, and Radel), fiber-polymer composites (epoxy lytex glass), aluminum with silicon carbide or boron fiber whiskers. Other types of advanced materials include metallic glasses, pyrolytic graphite, hard coatings (titanium nitride, titanium aluminum nitride), doped mediums, and optical modulators, among others.

Some of the major factors driving growth of the global advanced materials market are rising demand for lightweight vehicles in order to increase fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions and increasing demand for graphene as an advanced material. Graphene has various highly sought after features such as it being the thinnest and strongest material, transparent and pliable, superior conductor of electricity and heat, and high frequency. This leads to its wide application across various sectors, which in turn is expected to drive growth of the global advanced materials market over the forecast period (2016–2024).

Advanced Materials–Regulatory Scenario

Various government regulations are in place across the globe pertaining to production, usage and export/import of advanced materials. For example, manufacturers and end users in the advanced materials market must take into account standardized rules and regulations defined by Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in case of graphene production and its usage. Also,the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that regulates the usage of carbon nanotubes. There is Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 that provides the safety guidelines for advanced packaging materials especially used in food packaging. Directive 84/500/EEC provides the EU laws on advanced ceramic materials which comes into contact with food items.

Increasing demand for lightweight vehicles expected to drive growth of the advanced materials market over the forecast period. Light weighting is a rampant trend in the automotive sector, as it allows for superior fuel efficiency, improved safety, and superior overall performance of the vehicles. According to Scientific American (a leading science magazine), fuel economy of a car increases by 6%-8% by decreasing its weight by one tenth. For example, Nissan significantly reduced weight of its 2016 model cars such as Altima, Frontier, and JUKE, among others. Few have a misconception that lightweight vehicles are not as safe as heavy vehicles, which, previously was acting as a barrier to the growth of lightweight vehicles market. However, over the years the general conception regarding safety issues in case of lightweight vehicles has changed, thanks to newly developed lightweight vehicles, offering enhanced safety. Newly developed advanced materials including carbon, aluminum, and magnesium composites provide lightweight vehicles with greater safety features.Some of the newly developed cars using advanced materials are BMW and BMW i8. The passenger cell of these cars are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), which very strong yet 50% lighter than steel.According to Coherent Market Insights, the global sales of passenger cars was pegged at 73.9 million in 2015, which in turn creates a highly conducive environment for complementary industries such as advanced materials market.

Some of the restraining factors towards the growth of the advanced materials market are high price, complex fabrication, and low availability of advanced materials.Production and usage of advanced materials require major investments, as it requires experienced professionals and extensive and continuous research. Some of the emerging technologies that would boost market growth during the forecast period are expandable polymer technology, which is projected to have a significant positive impact on advanced electronics. Also, bio-based polycarbonate is also expected to gain significant traction in the energy and gas sector over the forecast period.Some of the major companies operating in the global advanced materials market are Akzo Nobel, 3M Company, BASF, Dow Chemical, and Momentive Performance Materials Inc.

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