Nanoceramics on the rise

According to a soon-to-be-released report, the total US market for advanced ceramic powders in 2002 was estimated to be worth a total of $1,605 million.

According to a soon-to-be-released report from Business Communications Company, the total US market for advanced ceramic powders in 2002, including nano-sized powders, was estimated to be 918 million pounds, worth a total of $1,605 million.

This is projected to increase to 1,178 million pounds worth a total of $2,286 million by the year 2007, as the value of the market grows at an AAGR (annual average growth rate) of 7.3% through the forecast period.

In 2002, advanced ceramic powder still constituted 97.5% in volume and 90.4% in value. However, in the next 5 years, the volume will go down to 95.9% while the value will go down to 89.5%. This is due to increased usage of nanoceramic powders. Among the ceramic powders, oxide constitutes 97.3% of the market in volume and 88.5% in value in 2002. However, by 2007, volume share of the oxides will be 98.2%, while the value share will go down slightly to 87.9%.

According to the report, nano-sized powders are now available in developmental, prototype and commercial quantities. There are several companies attempting to use these materials too. Applications include nano-sized iron oxide powders used as very fine abrasives for chemical mechanical polishing, burning catalysts for solid fuel rockets, magnetic recording media, optical fibre coatings, magnetic materials in ferrofluids, fuel cells, oxygen sensors, optoelectronic devices, and developmental and prototype ceramic components.

For 2002, BCC has estimated that the total consumption of nano-sized ceramic powders was about 23.3 million pounds worth $154 million. This is expected to grow 9.3% per year on average to reach 48.8 million pounds worth $241.2 million by the year 2007.

In terms of applications, currently the largest share goes to combined electronic, magnetic and optical applications with 53.4%, followed by chemical and environmental related applications with 40.1%. Structural ceramics constitute a distant third with 4.5%, followed by thermal spray coatings with 2.1%. By 2007, both electronic and structural applications will increase their shares slightly at the cost of chemical and environmental related applications.

In terms of growth rates, the largest goes to structural ceramics, with an AAGR of 9.6%. The structural ceramic applications area will be followed by electronics/magnetic/optical with an AAGR of 7.5%. Chemical and environmental applications will see an annual growth rate of 6.9%, followed by thermal spray coatings with 5.3%.

According to the report, US companies have caught up with Japanese and European companies in research and development as well as in the commercialisation of new powder synthesis techniques and in particular nano-sized ceramic powders.

Foreign companies dominate the US in silicon nitride and electronic grade aluminium nitride powders. In all other areas, the US has a good footing and is expected to continue its dominance. One major reason for this healthy growth has been due to growth in the US economy compared to Europe and Japan, although all the economies have been struggling since 2001.

The US ceramic consumption is getting an added boost due to increased military spending since the 911 terrorist attacks and this growth trend is expected to continue for the next 5 years.

The report, ‘US Markets for Advanced Ceramic and Nanosized Ceramic Powders, 2002 and 2007’ is priced $3950.