US market for Conductive Polymers is projected to reach US$1.6 bln by the year 2017, as per Global Industry Analyst. Growth will be primarily driven by expanding new applications in advanced organic light emitting diode screens, sensor chips, low cost radio frequency tagging systems, photovoltaic structures, and other optoelectronic enabled products.
Conductive polymers or conjugated polymers, a member of plastics materials family, are pliable, lightweight and inexpensive plastics, which conduct electricity. Conductive polymers are a type of shape-changing plastics, which protrude, shrink and bend when stimulated by electricity or when charged with ions. The electrical conductivity of these polymers is very high, unlike other polymeric materials. Given the vast potential of emerging plastic electronics, also known as polymer electronics, its opportunities galore for conductive polymers, especially in the field of computing. As the age of environmental awareness ushers in the era of organic microchips, conductive polymers will in the long-term replace silicon as a potential alternative. For now, opportunities exist in semiconductor manufacturing, chip packaging, display materials, plastic transistors, ultracapacitors, electromagnetic interference shielding, electrochromic cells, radar absorption, actuators and sensors, among others. Increased use in RFID tags is especially forecasted to generate growth opportunities, in the medium term, as growing number of chipless tags transition away from silicon-based microchips to conductive polymers chips. The photovoltaic industry also represents a potentially lucrative application avenue, although in the longer-term. For instance, improvements in performance and efficiencies are slowly inching polymer solar cells towards commercialization. In addition, breakthroughs in the use of medical and environmental plastic biosensors will generate opportunities for conductive polymers. Developments in the field of electroactive polymers (EAPs) are also expected to augur well for the future of the market.
The burgeoning demand for high performance, lightweight and inexpensive products is helping drive growth of conductive polymers. Demand for metals is declining as a result of high costs and issues related to weight, which is providing growth opportunities to organic semiconductors or conductive polymers. Although consumers inherently favor traditional conductors of electricity, the growing need for inexpensive and premium quality products is increasing the demand for conductive polymers. For instance, electronic and electrical device manufacturers increasingly demand inexpensive and high performance conducting materials, owing to the increasing demand for small but powerful electronic devices. Given the stringent quality standards for final finished products in the international market, manufacturers of conductive polymers are expected to investment resources into ensuring quality and performance features, such as, dimensional stability, flexibility, high temperature and chemical resistance and strength. The growing popularity of organic light-emitting diode (OLEDs) displays is a new trend sweeping through the flat-panel displays market. The telecom equipment sector is expected to generate substantial demand for OLED displays over the next few years, thanks to the introduction of several state-of-art handsets and smartphones featuring active-matrix organic light-emit diode (AMOLED). The scenario is forecast to create demand for conductive polymers, such as, polypyrrole, polythiophene and polyaniline, which are increasingly preferred over conventional electrical conducting additives in fabricating OLEDs. As stated by the new market research report on Conductive Polymers, Inherently Conductive Polymers represents the fastest growing market segment, in volume terms, trailing a projected CAGR of 10.9%, over the analysis period 2009 through 2017.
Major players in the marketplace include 3M Company, Cabot Corporation, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Crosslink, Cytec Industries Inc., Eastman Chemical Company, Ferro Corporation, Fractal Systems Inc., Hyperion Catalysis International Inc., Illinois Tool Works Inc., KEMET Corporation, Konarka Technologies Inc., Littelfuse Incorporated, Lubrizol Advanced Materials Inc., National Starch and Chemical Company, Phillips Sumika, PolyOne Corporation, Solutia Incorporated, Spartech Corporation, Sterling Fibers Inc., Synthetic Rubber Technologies Inc., and The Dow Chemical Company.