WIRE)--May 10, 2004--After considerable research and
development, and several pilot programs, nanocomposites
are beginning to establish themselves in a number
of key end-use markets. While conductive polymers
with nanoscale carbon black fillers have been commercialized
for some time, a wider variety of nanocomposites are
now finding use in packaging applications and motor
vehicle parts such as mirror housings, van step assists
and exterior trim. These fairly limited uses are harbingers
of widespread commercialization in electronics, construction,
packaging, consumer goods and other applications.
These and other trends are presented in Nanocomposites,
a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based
industrial market research firm.
The US market for nanocomposites is expected to increase
to 345 million pounds by 2008 and approach eleven
billion pounds by 2020, with a value of $37 billion.
By that time, nanocomposites are expected to have
partially supplanted traditional reinforced plastics
in construction applications such as pipe and siding;
in motor vehicle parts such as exterior body panels,
engine components and interior accessories; in consumer
goods such as appliances and sporting goods; in packaging
materials for food, beverages and medical equipment;
in electronic components; and in high performance
applications such as spacecraft and military equipment.
The nanoscale materials used in new composites are
nearly as diverse as the resins to which they are
added and the applications in which they are used.
In the short term, most nanomaterials in composites
will be smaller scale versions of conventional and
well-established materials such as carbon black, silica
and clay. Novel materials made possible by advances
in nanotechnology equipment and production techniques,
such as carbon nanotubes and polyhedral oligomeric
silsesquioxane (POSS), will find use in higher end
electronics uses and other applications. By the year
2020, clays and minerals are expected to be the major
volume materials, with high value nanotubes being
the highest value material