19 March 2004
19 March 2004
The worldwide polymer nanocomposites market will exceed $211 million by 2008, according to a soon-to-be-released report from Business Communications Company (BCC).
Mineral fillers, metals and fibres have been added to thermoplastics and thermosets for decades to form composites. Compared to neat resins, these composites have a number of improved properties including tensile strength, heat distortion temperature, and modulus. Thus for structural applications, composites have become very popular and are sold in billion-pound quantities. These filled thermoplastics are even sold in larger volumes than neat thermoplastics. Furthermore, the volume of fillers sold is roughly equal to the volume of thermoplastic resin sold. Polymer nanocomposites (thermoplastics and thermosets) combine these two concepts of increased surface area and synergies between fillers and matrices.
The total worldwide market for nanocomposites, nanoparticles, nanoclays and nanotubes reached 24.5 million pounds, or $90.8 million, in 2003. This market is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 18.4 per cent to reach $211.1m by 2008.
Polymer nanocomposites have been making a large splash in the media and in many industries of late, not least plastics packaging.
Current volumes of thermoplastic and thermoset nanocomposites produced are roughly equal. By 2008, thermoplastics will constitute 77 per cent of the volume market. The dollar value of thermoplastics is larger, because they are higher value-added goods and are used in high dollar niche applications.
New Zealand company Revolution Fibres is tripling nanofibre production to meet increased international demand from a range of industries, from cosmetics manufacturers through to Formula One teams.
TeXtreme has added a ±45° grid fabric to its line of spread tow products.
Exel Composites is collaborating with French industrial contractor CNIM on the manufacture of fibreglass components for the magnet support structure of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the world’s largest experimental fusion facility.