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June 2006

Polymer nanocomposite demand on the rise

“Nanocomposites”, a study by Cleveland-based Freedonia Group, Inc., forecast the demand for nanocomposites will surge to 350 million pounds by 2010, and will continue to grow to over seven billion pounds valued at approximately $15 billion by 2020. The study also tangles with trends like market share, market leaders, market size, and company profiles.

Though there has been much hype surrounding polymer nanocomposites over the past decade, the market for the materials has not done as well as many hoped. Lately though commercial interest has moved beyond pilot programs, and now nanocomposites are an integral part of many applications. Advances in the market will be fueled by rising production levels and falling prices of nanomaterials and composites, as well as technological advances that solve the problem of dispersion of nano-additives into various compounds.

Packaging and motor vehicles, both early markets for nanoclay and nanotube composites, will remain big players through the end of the next decade, accounting for an estimated 40% of the demand in 2020. In the nearer future, market growth will be fastest in the higher priced resins such as thermoplastic elastomers and engineered plastics, since initial demand will be for high end applications. Eventually, however, nanocomposites based on commodity plastics like polypropylene, polyethylene, and PVC will dominate the market. In fact, nanocomposites are expected to penetrate a number of key packaging applications, including soft drinks, beer, food, pharmaceuticals, and electronics due to their improved strength and conductive properties.

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