Sol-Gel Processing of Ceramics and Glass

Published - Jun 2006| Analyst - Thomas Abraham| Code - AVM016E
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. market is expected to reach $500 million by 2011 with an AAGR (annual average growth) rate of 8.7% per year from 2006 to 2011.
  • The global market for sol-gel products in 2006 was $1 billion. This is forecasted to increase to $1.4 billion by 2011 with an AAGR of 6.3% from 2006 to 2011.
  • In terms of market share, the U.S. has currently about 32% of the world market and is expected to increase this market share by 2011 to 36%.
  • Optical and electronic applications are the fastest growing market segments from 2006 to 2011, at an annual average growth rate ranging 12% to 15%.


The sol-gel method is a cost-effective and convenient route to prepare mono and multicomponent glasses and ceramic, some of which would not be possible to form by conventional processes. This is because of the use of homogeneous liquid solutions and the ability to form gels at room temperature.

The term sol-gel was first coined in the late 1800s. It generally refers to a low-temperature method using chemical precursors that can produce ceramics and glasses with higher purity and better homogeneity than high-temperature conventional processes. This process has been used to produce a wide range of compositions (mostly oxides) in various forms, including powders, fibers, coatings and thin films, monoliths and composites, and porous membranes. Organic/inorganic hybrids, where a gel (usually silica) is impregnated with polymers or organic dyes to provide specific properties, can also be made. One of the most attractive features of the sol-gel process is that it can produce compositions that cannot be created with conventional methods. Another benefit is that the mixing level of the solution is retained in the final product, often on the molecular scale.


This report:

  • Provides an overview of the various commercial products made with the sol-gel process and their applications.
  • Identifies the technological and business issues related to the development and commercial production of sol-gel-derived products.
  • Analyzes the domestic and foreign competition among companies involved with sol-gel products and competing products.
  • Forecasts the current size and future growth of the U.S. and global markets for sol-gel products and applications.
  • Profiles all U.S. organizations involved in the development and commercialization of sol gel-derived products.
  • Identifies the foreign companies, universities, and other institutions involved in the development and commercialization of sol gel-derived products.


The conclusions of this report are based on information derived from interviews with experts in the field, including those in industry and academia. Extensive literature, Internet, and patent searches were conducted to obtain an overall assessment of the technology. Other information was obtained from trade publications, technical journals, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Defense, European Commission research databases and trade associations. Approximately 120 companies, universities, and other institutions were contacted for this study.


This study was authored by Dr. Thomas Abraham. Since 1986, Dr. Abraham has been directing the market and industry analysis of advanced ceramics and related areas at BCC Research, and has authored numerous reports on these technologies and markets. A graduate of Columbia University, Dr. Abraham had worked earlier for the University of Denver and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Abraham has been a frequent invited speaker on the state of the advanced material industries at American Ceramic Society (ACS) meetings, as well as numerous other conferences and events held by various associations involved in the ceramics and advanced materials industries. One of the most important studies Dr. Abraham undertook was for the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress on the "Strategies for Advanced Ceramic Materials in the U.S." Dr. Abraham has also conducted technology transfer and commercialization studies for several companies and major laboratories.

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Published - Jul-2002| Analyst - Laurel Sheppard| Code - AVM016D

Report Highlights


  • The global market for sol-gel products in 2001 was $712 million. This is forecasted to increase to $936 million by 2006 at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.6%.
  • The U.S. market share is nearly 28% and is expected to increase to 34% by 2006, rising from $202.5 million to $320 million at an AAGR of 9.6%.
  • Electronic and optical applications are expected to be the fastest growing market segments during the period, at an annual average growth rate of around 14%. High growth rates also are expected for chemical and biomedical applications at between 8% and approximately 10% per year.
  • By 2006, new market segments to emerge will include biomedical applications (such as bone grafting materials and drug therapy products) and chemical applications (gas separation membranes).
  • Although the U.S. leads in research and development, Japan is able to commercialize and market products faster. The total number of U.S. patents also has declined, with fewer applications being commercialized


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