Smart materials or Active materials or Functional materials are designed materials that have diverse, dynamic features that enable them to adapt to the environment. They have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, the stimulus and response may be mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical, thermal, or chemical.
Smart materials include self-healing materials, coatings with damage sensing, chemical sensing, friction changing, hydrophobicity changing capabilities, and also materials with several “smart” capabilities. They derive smart properties from structural patterning, often at the micro- or nanoscale, of already known material chemistries.
Advanced functional materials consist of two or more materials prepared using various manufacturing processes. They are used in automotive, aerospace, marine, and defense applications due to their light weight, high strength to weight ratio, high stiffness to weight ratio, better resistance to wear and corrosion, and excellent properties at elevated temperature. Advanced functional composites, sensors and actuators, artificial muscles, self-healing materials, advanced functional ceramics, nanomaterials, advanced energy materials, conductive/electroactive polymers and others..
Conventional materials used in industry often lead to failure because of their poor mechanical properties, lower strength to weight ratio, and poor resistance to wear and corrosion. The lack of interface bonding between the matrix and reinforcements causes fibers or particles to pull out of the matrix. In addition, there are challenges faced in the weldability and machinability of functional materials when using conventional welding and machining techniques. Hence, significant attention has been given to developing advanced functional materials and the advanced welding and machining techniques needed to best produce various products for end applications.
The multifunctional materials and composites achieve high functionality area, which intendeds to improve processes and products, creates several avenues to increase sustainability, and makes a direct and positive impact on economic growth, environment, and quality of life. They have tremendous potential to impact new system performance by reducing size, weight, cost, power consumption, and complexity while improving efficiency, safety, and versatility.
Advanced functional materials can be prepared by casting processes, powder metallurgy, and surface modification techniques, and their properties can be evaluated by mechanical and other testing methods. In addition, the machinability and welding of advanced welding techniques are essential to manufacture these components for end applications.
Advanced functional materials market
The advanced functional materials market is expected to reach USD 46.21 billion during 2021-2025, as per a new report by Technavio.
The global increase in demand for low-cost sustainable energy solutions from end-user industry segments such as electronics and automobiles coupled with stringent government environmental regulations is expected to remain a key driving factor for the advanced functional material market (AFM) for the next six years. Systems and components incorporating AFMs consume energy more efficiently and emit lower carbon footprints into the environment. AFMs superior chemical & physical properties and load-bearing capacities tend to shift the manufacturer’s preference from conventional materials usage in the end-user industry.
The advanced functional materials market growth is attributed to the increase in automotive regulatory requirements. However, the fluctuating raw material prices and high cost of materials hinder the market growth. On the other hand, increasing demand for miniaturization and microelectronics presents new opportunities in the coming years.
The number of laws and regulations regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions from automobiles is increasing. The Kyoto Protocol restricts the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. With the emission norms becoming stringent with every passing day, there is a rise in the demand for lightweight materials. Such regulations and an increase in fuel efficiency have led to the significant growth of lightweight materials. Thus, an increase in automotive regulatory requirements will drive the global advanced functional materials market.
South Korea, China, and Japan are projected to propel the growth of advanced functional materials market in the Asia Pacific region. The prime driver of the global advanced functional materials market is a requirement of highly compact and multifunctional devices which can be developed with the incorporation of advanced functional materials. The global demand for advanced functional materials is expected to get hampered, specifically in the emerging and under-developed economies, by the very high price of the end products which incorporate advanced functional materials.
Nanomaterials are expected to witness higher growth rates over the forecast period owing to the usage of nanotechnology and their applications in the manufacturing of Specialty chemicals, electronic devices, aerospace components, and healthcare devices & drugs. Advanced energy materials used in the manufacturing of photovoltaic energy materials and conductive polymers used for manufacturing electronic discharge protection devices has Asia Pacific as the largest regional market. Increasing demand for lightweight vehicles coupled with fuel economy is expected to drive the advanced functional material market for low carbon emissions applications over the forecast period. Nanocomposites and nanomaterials are being increasingly used for automobile manufacturing which contributes to vehicle’s weight reduction and deliver economic performance. The growth of electronics and electrical industry is expected to significantly augment AFM market for low carbon emissions applications.
Electronics & electrical industry is one of the largest AFM consumers with advanced functional ceramics, conductive polymers, and nanomaterials being a major contributor to this segment. Advance functional ceramics used in the electronics & electrical industry exhibit piezo-electric, magnetic, semiconducting, and conducting properties which make them feasible for use in applications such as cellular phones and computers. Advanced functional ceramics finds use as capacitor components, integrated circuits, insulators, and transducers. Lack of expansion capacities to meet market demand coupled with technology improvement is expected to hamper advanced functional material market participant’s growth. Investments in R&D to develop niche product using advance functional composites for aerospace and automobiles is expected to open a new gate of opportunities for AFM industry participants. Increasing the use of advanced functional composites which are manufactured by combining two or more materials retains distinctive properties that are being developed by industry participants.
These composites increase strength and reduce weight which results in lower energy consumption and increase components service life. Renewable power generation devices are expected to be the fastest-growing applications for Advance functional composites. Major demand is expected from the emerging advanced functional material market of Asia Pacific. Countries in this region such as China, India, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia are expected to witness higher growth rates. Growth of end-user industry segments such as automobiles, power, paints & chemicals, infrastructure, and aerospace are attributing to increasing AFMs demand. Other major demand is expected from key regions of Europe owing to the growth of the automobile sector.
Key industrial participants include 3M Company, ReneSola Ltd, DuPont, and Bayer AG. Some of the companies are: 3M, Arkema Group, BASF SE, CeramTec, Covestro AG, Evonik Industries AG, Hexcel Corporation, KYOCERA Corporation, , omentive, Renesola, SHOWA DENKO K.K., Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Other major players include Ceradyne, Inc., Samsung Electro Mechanics Company, and Momentive Performance Materials, Inc.
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