Advanced ceramic materials constitute a mature technology with a very broad base of current and potential applications and a growing list of material compositions. These are inorganic, nonmetallic materials with combinations of fine-scale microstructures, purity, compositions and crystal structures, and accurately controlled additives. Such materials require a level of processing science and engineering far beyond that used in making conventional ceramics. Collectively, they represent an enabling technology whose continued development is critical to advances in a host of new high-technology applications, ranging from modern microelectronics to superconductors and nanotechnology.
The outstanding properties possessed by advanced ceramics are achieved through special compositions and microstructures that require very careful control throughout the successive stages of ceramic processing. These stages are: powder synthesis, powder sizing, rheology control, consolidation and forming processes, sintering, final machining and inspection.
Ceramic powder is a necessary ingredient for most of the structural ceramics, electronic ceramics, ceramic coatings, and chemical processing and environmentally related ceramics. For most advanced ceramic components, starting powder is a crucial factor. The performance characteristics of a ceramic component are greatly influenced by precursor powder characteristics. Among the most important are the powder’s chemical purity, particle size distribution and the manner in which the powders are packed in the green body before sintering.
Nano ceramic powders constitute an important segment of nanostructured materials. In fact, nanoceramic powder constitutes almost 90% of the total market. These powders are used in an array of applications including microelectronics, optical, chemical and environmentally related, and magnetic recording applications.
This BCC technical and economic study covers material types, synthesis techniques, current and emerging production methods, new developments in synthesis and, current and emerging applications, industry and market analysis and international competition among the various segments of advanced ceramic and nanosize ceramic powders. Current size and future growth of the markets are estimated through 2007.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report provides coverage of:
- Various advanced ceramic and nanosize ceramic powders, their production technologies and applications
- Technological and issues related to their commercial production and use
- Domestic and foreign competition among companies within each of the advanced ceramic powder segments
- Current market size and growth of the markets for oxide, carbide, nitride and boride ceramic powders as well as nanosize powders
- All U.S. producers and major user industries
- U.S. companies that currently are conducting research and development and their areas of research
- Foreign competition.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
The findings of this report are based on information derived from interviews with many producers and potential producers of advanced ceramic powders and nanosized ceramic powders, industry experts, and those conducting research and development. In addition, many end users were contacted to evaluate the current and future demand for these materials. In all, about 200 persons from over 150 companies and institutions were contacted for this study.
Secondary data were obtained from trade publications, technical journals, government statistics, and the BCC database.
Thomas Abraham is Vice President, and Director of the Advanced Materials Group at BCC. Dr. Abraham is experienced both as a materials scientist and technical economic analyst in the field of advanced materials. He has made significant contributions to technology, industry and market analyses of advanced ceramics, synthetic diamonds and diamond films, magnetic materials, high performance coatings, and superconductors, with BCC multiclient and custom studies. Dr. Abraham has been with BCC for over 15 years. M.S. and D.Eng.Sci., Chemical Metallurgy; Post M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering and Management, Columbia University.