Global electro-active polymers market estimated to be worth US$3.4 bln by 2017

The common applications where electro-active polymers are used include batteries, actuators, sensors, capacitors, solar cells, EMI & ESD shielding, electrostatic paintable plastics, corrosion-resistant coatings, and organic light emitting diodes. EAPs are also used in the field of robotics in the development of artificial muscles. The EAP market is highly lucrative for polymer and semiconductor manufacturers, though the manufacturers would require high initial investment to shift from silicon to polymers. As per MarketsandMarket, there are various forces which influence the electro-active polymers market. Cost is the most important factor influencing the electro-active polymers market growth. The use of polymers in robotics and luminescent applications is more cost-effective than the use of metals and semiconductor materials. The use of electro-active polymers in the field of biomimetics and biomedicine could help address the global problem of increasing healthcare costs. In the field of biomimetics, EAPs are fabricated to resemble human muscles, and thus have potential applications in developing bio-prosthetics for the physically challenged. EAP they can potentially be used to mimic the movements of living creatures. The conductive plastics segment forms the largest submarket of the overall electro-active polymers market with an expected US$2.6 bln by 2017, at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2012 to 2017. The high market size of conductive plastics is due to its extensive use in electrostatic discharge and electromagnetic interference protection. Intensive R&D efforts, early product commercialization, and the high absorption rate of electronic products made North America the dominant market for electro-active polymer. The region held a 65% share of the global electro-active polymers product market, followed by Europe with a 22% share in 2011. ICP (Inherently Conductive Polymer) production is currently small in the overall electro-active polymer market but it is the fastest growing market in future. At present it accounts for only 12% of the total electro-active polymer market, revenue wise, but this share is estimated to increase to 20% by 2017. North America region is the largest market for electro-active polymers with 65% of the global electro-active polymer market revenue share in 2011 and is estimated to reach US$2.2 bln by 2017. Europe is the second largest consumer followed by North America.
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