Nanocomposites are at an interesting stage in their product life cycle, moving from innovation to the growth phase. The resolution of existing technical and economic challenges over the medium- to long-term will accelerate market expansion.
Frost & Sullivan (materials.frost.com) finds that the World Nanoparticles In Composites Market earned revenues of $33.7 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $144.6 million in 2013.
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"The entry of new participants and the additional capacity that they generate has the potential to bring down prices and drive up volumes in the world nanocomposites markets," states Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Hariharan Ramasubramanian. "The industry will also benefit from the infusion of novel technologies by these entrants."
Currently, however, the high prices of nano-particles (including nanotubes and nanofibres) remain a key concern, and this situation is dissuading many end users from utilising nanocomposites. Both unit prices and total cost of usage have to reduce for nano-composites to be viable in high-volume markets.
At the same time, despite ongoing research, technical challenges, including the dispersion of nanoparticles in non-polar resins, persists. These and similar technical issues with mass production of nanoparticles, such as nanotubes, continue to restrain the widespread uptake of nanocomposites.
"Taking the industry out of the labs and into the markets is a major challenge for suppliers in the nanocomposites market," explains Ramasubramanian. "Very often, suppliers have found it difficult to replicate their successes in the lab to large scale production lines."
To achieve market success, companies should establish alliances and build strong relationships with participants across the supply chain, spanning nanoparticle producers to end users.
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