With their many existing and potential applications, and ongoing research and development, the commercialization of new materials and coatings is expected across various industries—especially in healthcare, electronics and energy markets.
A recent report from Mountain View, Calif.-based Frost & Sullivan—“2015 Top Technologies in Materials & Coatings” identifies the following as key technologies likely to have had a high impact in 2015:
• carbon fibers
• polymer chameleons
• lightweight composites
• anti-corrosion coatings
• polymeric catalysts
• bio-based materials
• membrane separation technologies
• algal bioprocessing
Further, the report notes, innovations in the materials-and-coatings sector will focus on multi-functionality and high performance. Although cost-effective, value-based technologies remain prominent, technologies that reduce raw-material use and promote energy efficiency are gaining prominence.
Lightweight composites are established in the aerospace and automotive industries and have been used primarily for increasing fuel efficiency, the report notes. However, in recent times, applications are also being found in such sectors as offshore, marine, oil and gas, and construction. Due to their use as reinforcement materials and the expansion of production facilities, lightweight, high-strength composites—especially carbon fibers—will witness increased adoption in the next three years.
On the downside, the analysis notes, difficulties in scaling up new materials to the commercial level, the cost of implementation and long-term durability issues could hinder the adoption of innovative coatings and materials for varied industrial and consumer applications. Market participants must invest in more research initiatives to address these challenges, the report urges. Developing self-healing structures and capitalizing on the need for materials with tunable properties and strong functionalities in sectors such as healthcare and electronics will help in further growth and adoption of materials and coatings technologies.