The Global Consumer Electronics Market revenue stood at a value of USD 728.1 Billion in the year 2021 and is expected to reach a value USD 964.6 Billion in the year 2028. Consumer electronic products including personal and home electronics are full of components that rely on materials for proper operation. During the design and engineering process, it’s critical to consider your materials when manufacturing parts for consumer electronics.
With electronics using increasingly better technologies and benefiting from improved design, new advances in synthesizing materials and improving raw materials are becoming more important to the electronics sector than ever before.
Materials in electronics can be classified as electrotechnical, constructional and special. Electrotechnical materials are classified by four groups: Conductors, Semiconductors, Isolators, and Magnetic materials.
Electrotechnical materials are those which have some specific features at the electromagnetic field, and are used in electronics according to their features. Different materials are affected by the electric, magnetic or complex fields. Electrotechnical materials can be strongly magnetic and weekly magnetic, according to their magnetic behaviour. They can be conductors, isolators and semiconductors according to their electrical behaviour. Most electrotechnical materials are weak magnetics or non-magnetics. However, there are some conductors, semiconductors and isolators among magnetic materials, and this feature determines the frequency range of their application.
Conductors feature materials which main feature is highly pronounced conductivity, with ambient temperature. And that is why they are used in electronics.
Semiconductors feature materials that are intermediate between conductors and isolators, and their conductance is highly dependant on the concentration and type of impurities and defects, and external impacts like temperature, light, etc.
Insulators features materials whose main feature is their ability for polarisation, and they can also support the existence of an electrostatic field. A real isolator is close to ideal when its conductivity is very low and its polarisation is low pronounced. Passive features of dielectrics are applied to the capacitors, and insulation materials. Insulating materials are those who bloke any electric charge leakage. Active isolators are ferroelectrics, piesoelectrics, pioelectrics and electroluminiphors.
According to conductivity of materials, conductors are materials with conductivity ρ <10-5Ohm per m, isolators are those with conductivity ρ <10-8Ohm per m. Semiconductors have conductivity in the range 10-5 < ρ < 108 Ohm per m.
Some conductors can behave as insulators with low temperatures, at the same time insulators can perform as semiconductors.
A variety of metals, plastics, raw materials and chemicals are used by the electronics industry. Some of the more common metals include copper, lithium, tin, silver, gold, nickel, and aluminum.
Key product attributes that contribute to the look and feel of the device are continually sought by consumers when choosing among today’s wide range of consumer electronics. To meet these consumer requirements, OEMs and designers are seeking high-performance materials for electronic devices that provide strength, scratch resistance, aesthetics/soft touch, and light weight. While meeting consumer needs, manufacturers also must consider functional demands such as radio frequency interference (RFI), flame retardancy, and environmental impact.
Engineering thermoplastics play an increasingly vital role in this high-growth consumer market. Specifically, semi-crystalline resins from DuPont deliver performance, aesthetics, design freedom, and in some cases, more sustainable material solutions. These advanced polymer options are being increasingly specified in applications ranging from soft-touch parts to structural components.
Many of these materials provide protection for the inner workings of electronic devices, make them easier to clean or improve their functionality. Some are highly conductive and work beautifully at transporting electricity, and are therefore used in the wiring for the devices. Plastics are often molded into coatings and casings. Some ceramics make excellent insulators and are used to protect electrical components. The production of some of these materials is cost-intensive and often requires substantial energy use.
Personal computers, a popular electronics sector product, require components manufactured from resources obtained around the world. Approximately half of a computer is composed of various metals. To produce circuit boards, a substantial amount of copper wiring is required. Copper mines use as much as 500 gallons of water per second of operation, so water is also a significant commodity consumed by the industry.
Electronics production also involves a range of different chemicals. Solvents and various gases help in controlling product quality, stripping away impurities, cleaning components and de-greasing materials. Electronics manufacturers have to purchase chemical supplies on an ongoing basis, and many of them benefit from locating their operations close to key producers.
The demand for affordable, high-quality electronics is driving research and development in the materials and chemicals sectors.
This, in turn, creates new opportunities for electronics and related industries as these products reach new customers in emerging market economies. Many of these advances also improve longevity and decrease the environmental impact of new devices.
Copper is often used for its excellent conductivity and malleability (the ability to be shaped and mashed). Nckel, chromium, aluminum, lead, silver and tin are also used. These metals go into components such as resistors, capacitors and transducers.
Plastics and Other Petroleum-Based Materials
Plastics and other petroleum-based materials are used in electronic components mostly for their insulating and heat-resistant properties. Polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyvinylchlorate (PVC) are widely used in components such as capacitors and thermistors.
Minerals and Non-Metallic Materials
Silicon — considered a metalloid, or semimetal — is used in microchips and semiconductors. Other nonmetal or semimetal materials are antimony, bismuth, cobalt, fluorite, garnet, magnesium and talc.
Other Raw Materials
Ceramics are used as insulators in a variety of electronic components. Certain clays, glasses, calcium (in various forms), gold and carbon (in various forms are also often used.
Materials for lenses and screens
Polycarbonate is a strong thermoplastic with high dimensional stability, meaning it will maintain its clarity and shape over time. It also has good insulative properties, heat and abrasion resistance, and transmits light well while being lightweight.
Acrylic is highly scratch-resistant, UV-resistant, and translucent. Even though it’s not very heat resistant, and boasts average flexural and tensile strength.
Polystyrene is often associated with Styrofoam and other rigid foams, but it can also be manufactured as a naturally transparent solid plastic. In this form, polystyrene is incredibly strong and durable, incredibly lightweight, and relatively inexpensive. It also repels water and chemicals and can form complex shapes, making it ideal for screens.
LIQUID SILICONE RUBBER (LSR)
Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) has good chemical stability, high heat resistance, and is an electrical insulator. It is also resistant to oils, solvents, bacteria, wind, and rain, and is UV-resistant for extended periods. Along with its durability and long-term integrity, LSR is transparent and can be pigmented to match any color needs.
Materials for electronic encasings
Many plastics are insulators, which are materials with natural resistivity. They are used to make various enclosures or housings for electronics, ensuring long-term performance and safety for end-users.
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is hydrolysis-resistant, maintains stiffness in extreme temperatures and environments, and emits very low smoke and toxic gas levels when exposed to flame. Glass-filled PEEK offers enhanced thermal protection and excellent chemical resistance and is even more electrically insulative.
LE LINEN PHENOLIC
LE Linen Phenolic can be used in high-strength electrical grade insulation applications, like insulators for electromechanical devices. However, you can also use it for non-electrical grade projects that require increased friction and wear resistance. High dimensional stability also helps LE Linen Phenolic retain its shape under extreme temperature variations.
Polyetherimide (Ultem®) is a semi-transparent, extremely stiff thermoplastic that boasts incredibly high dielectric strength. This, along with its resistance to hydrolysis when exposed to hot water and steam, makes polyetherimide a great option for electrical connectors, insulators, and semiconductor electrical equipment. Polyetherimide is also easy to fabricate and can withstand repeated sterilization.
Pliable materials for additional comfort
Elastomers, like LSR, are petroleum-based polymers that perform like rubber and can absorb shock without compromising functionality. They generally support high elasticity and compressibility, and are malleable, tear-resistant, and long-lasting.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is capable of high elongation before failure, or breaking, making it a somewhat versatile manufacturing material. LDPE can create coatings, jackets, and sheathings for cables and wires. However, it shouldn’t be used for high-temperature applications — this material is highly flammable.
Polypropylene (PP) is strong and stiff but still lightweight, flexible, and resilient enough to bend without breaking. PP is also resistant to chemicals, solvents, and intense physical stress, which helps it remain its structural integrity. Like LDPE, PP isn’t best-suited for high-temperature applications.
Electronics materials Market
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