Nanofibers: Technologies and Developing Markets
The global market for nanofibers increased from $43.2 million in 2006 to an estimated $48.0 million by the end of 2007. It should reach $176 million in 2012 and grow to $825 million by 2017, compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of 30% and 36%, respectively.
The mechanical/chemical sector is projected to account for 73.5% of total revenues in 2007. Other key sectors are energy and electronics.
Nanofibers are generating great interest in certain industry segments, where alternative materials are characterized by limited performance or much higher unit prices (a good example is the utilization of carbon nanofibers as an alternative to carbon nanotubes for electron emitters in flat panel displays).
Nanofibers are traditionally defined as nanostructures with a diameter below 1000 nm and a length-to-width ratio typically greater than 50.
The origins of nanofibers can be traced back to the end of the 19th century, when the physical phenomena occurring during the electrospinning process were first observed. Since then, however, nanofibers have been produced in limited quantities, typically in a laboratory setting, largely due to very low process throughput.
During the last 6 years, the number of research activities resulting in patent applications and issued patents has increased rapidly, by almost a factor of 15, leading to the development of mass-production fabrication methods, innovative compositions, and a large variety of applications spanning many industrial sectors.
The growing interest in the utilization of these nanostructures primarily stems from their unique physical, mechanical, and electrical properties associated with their very high surface area. These properties make nanofibers suitable for the creation of numerous technologically advanced products within many fields of application. With development activities related to nanofiber technology intensifying rapidly, one can reasonably project that these nanostructures will achieve widespread commercialization within the next 5 to 10 years.
The primary reason for doing this study is to establish a market overview of the nanofiber industry by quantifying sales of these materials based on their types and fields of application.
There is also a need to evaluate the current status and future trends of the nanofiber industry from a global standpoint. As use of this technology expands, information on regional production, sales, and type of suppliers, becomes more valuable.
Another important reason for performing this study is to supply a review of nanofiber manufacturing methods, to identify current technical issues, and to illustrate the latest technological developments and how they will affect market expansion.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report contains:
- Descriptions of various types of nanofibers, their fabrication methods, and current and potential applications for each type of nanofiber
- The current market status of nanofibers, trends, and forecasts of growth over the next 5 to 10 years
- Technological issues, including the latest process developments
- A discussion of the nanofiber industry on a worldwide basis from the standpoint of both manufacturing and consumption
- An examination of commercial and public research activities in major regions of the world; research objectives and areas of interest related to nanofiber fabrication processes and applications are also outlined.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
The technology section of this report is based on information derived from technical literature, professional journals, the author's field experience, and online sources.
Global market analysis was performed by analyzing 29 suppliers of nanofibers, accounting for at least 95% of the global nanofiber market. Data for each company were obtained by thoroughly analyzing SEC filings, internet web sites, annual reports, industry directories, industry magazines and catalogs, government sources, and other public sources.
Additional data were obtained from the direct contribution of primary sources, including: company executives, managers, engineers and other technical personnel representing manufacturers and developers of nanofibers, and related materials and process equipment; representatives of academia and trade associations; and industry market analysts.
Secondary sources of information include:
- EDGAR - U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions Filings
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- European Patent Office
- Company Web Sites
- Company Annual Reports
- Thomas Registers
- Moody's Directory
- S & P Industry Survey
- Dun & Bradstreet Business Directory
- American Ceramic Society Publications
- Foreign Chamber of Commerce Directories
- Foreign Stock Exchange Listings
In addition to utilizing the above primary and secondary sources, market growth trends and forecasts were compiled by gaining additional insights from relevant financial and market information, relevant BCC reports, and the author's own in-depth analysis of all the information.
Margareth Gagliardi has 25 years of experience in the field of advanced materials, specializing in ceramic formulations, materials processing, and new product development. She has held management positions in both manufacturing and R&D within U.S. and European firms producing electronic, mechanical, chemical and structural components. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Ceramic Engineering.
She has authored several BCC Research studies, including the following which are related to advanced materials and nanotechnology:
- NAN042A Nanorobotics and NEMS
- SMC061A Atomic Layer Deposition
- AVM054A Bioactive Glasses, Ceramics, Composites, Other Advanced Materials
- AVM052A Aerogels
- SMC057A Thin Films: Raw Materials, Technology and Applications.