Advanced Ceramics and Nano Ceramic Powders
The total U.S. market for advanced ceramic powders in 2006 is estimated to be 1.26 billion pounds and worth $2.2 billion. This is projected to increase to 1.57 billion pounds, worth $3.4 billion by the year 2011, an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 8.9% for value.
In 2006, advanced ceramic powders account for 97.3% of the market in volume terms and 90.5% in value terms. Over the next five years, advanced ceramic powders' volume share is expected to decline slightly to 96.6%, while their value share will drop to 82.3%.
In the last 20 years, U.S. researchers have been working to develop technologies for the production of ultrapure and nanosized ceramic powders. Commercial availability of cheap nanosized ceramic powders and perfecting the processing technology would have major implications for the future growth of the advanced ceramics industry and related applications in the 21st century.
Advanced ceramic materials are a mature technology with a very broad base of current and potential applications and a growing list of material compositions. Advanced ceramics are inorganic, nonmetallic materials with combinations of fine-scale microstructures, purity, complex 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. These new generations of high-performance materials have already reached a U.S. market of several billion dollars. 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 environmental 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.
Powders of narrow size distribution can be compacted into ordered arrays and, when in the submicron region, these powders are sintered at reduced temperatures. Consequently, in the processing of advanced ceramics, there is a growing need to develop synthetic techniques capable of producing submicron, chemically pure powders with a tailored size distribution. However, the cost is again the factor since the new synthetic processing techniques are comparatively more expensive than the currently established powder manufacturing methods.
Nanoceramic powders constitute an important segment of the whole nanostructured materials market. These powders are used in an array of applications from microelectronics, optical, chemical and environmental related, and magnetic recording applications.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report contains:
- An overview of the various advanced ceramic and nanosized ceramic powders, their production technologies, and applications
- The technological and business issues related to the commercial production and use of advanced ceramic and nanosized ceramic powders
- Extensive current and future market evaluations, including five-year market projections for the U.S. market through 2011
- Profiles for all the major U.S. producers of advanced ceramic and nanosized ceramic powders
- A detailed patent analysis.
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, this report reflects the contributions of about 200 persons from over 150 companies and institutions.
Secondary data were obtained from trade publications, technical journals, government statistics, and the BCC database.
This report is an update of an earlier (2003) report prepared by Dr. Thomas Abraham. Dr. Abraham was formerly Vice President, and Director of the Advanced Materials Group of BCC. Dr. Abraham has extensive experience in the field of advanced materials, including advanced ceramics, synthetic diamonds and diamond films, magnetic materials, high performance coatings, and superconductors.
The analyst responsible for updating the report is Andrew McWilliams, a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC. Mr. McWilliams is the author of numerous other BCC studies, including studies in ceramic-related fields such as Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Assessment; Nanocomposites, Nanoparticles, Nanoclays, and Nanotubes; and Nanomaterials Markets by Type.
The total U.S. market for advanced ceramic powders in 2002, including nanopowders, was estimated to be 918 million pounds worth $1,605 million.
This is projected to increase at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 7.3% to 1,178 million pounds worth $2,286 million by 2007.
In 2002, advanced ceramic powder still constituted 90.4% in value. However, in the next five years, the volume will drop to 89.5% with increased use of nanoceramic powders.
Among the advanced ceramic powders, oxide constituted 97.9% in value in 2002, and essentially will hold through 2007.
For 2002, BCC estimates that the total consumption of nanosize ceramic powders was about $154 million, and is expected to grow at an AAGR of 9.3% to $241 million by 2007.