Smart coatings, considered an emerging technical area, are constantly evolving on account of the sustained pace of development in the domain of nanotechnology and the unveiling of advanced materials. Smart coatings are capable of reacting to changes in surroundings such as stress, pressure, temperature, radiation corrosion, and biological stimuli. They behave this way on account of the incorporation of multifunctional, smart nanofillers to polymer matrix. This helps them sense and respond to external stimuli or environment.
Examples of smart coatings include stimuli responsive, conductive, self-healing, and super hydrophobic systems.
How is research and development fanning development in the market?
Thanks to increased thrust on research, cutting edge materials have emerged recently that provide enhanced functionality to smart coatings, especially when used in small amounts. One such type of material is the nanomaterials, that measure under 100 nanometers (nm) in one dimension. Examples include carbon nanotubes that are preferred for physical reinforcement, conductivity, and other properties; clays also used for reinforcement, barrier properties and comparatively cheaper cost; UV screening particles; etc.
Which particular end-use segments are at the forefront of generating demand in the market?
Of late, smart coatings are seeing increased demand owing to the explosive growth in the electronics industry in general. Proliferation in smartphones and other smart devices will continue stoking demand for self-cleaning and self-healing coatings. Besides, substantial investments in research and development of innovative smart coating products will also likely generate growth in the market in the near future. The different types of coatings available in the market currently are anti-corrosion coating, self-dimming coating, biomedical coating, self-cleaning coating, and self-healing coating, among others.
Industries such as personal care, aerospace, food packaging, IT, construction, household, and automotive are predicted to have a positive impact on the demand for smart coatings. Their applications in medical and military sectors will also bode well for their market. While the healthcare sector will drive up demand for antimicrobial coatings to thwart spread of diseases, the defense and military industry lead to sales of anti-corrosion coatings to enhnace the life of steel and galvanized aluminum surfaces.
Why are Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America key markets?
From a geographical standpoint, Asia Pacific is a key region that is predicted to grow at a cracking pace in the foreseeable future. Fast paced infrastructural development and construction activities, and massive demand for consumer electronics are forecasted to provide solid tailwinds to the market in the region. Supportive policy measures in emerging economies of China and India promoting manufacturing will also lead to swift uptake of smart coatings in the near future.
North America and Europe are other key regions in terms of demand, with the former leading. The demand in North America is being primarily propelled by the massive technological progress in the development of nanomaterials. The development of environment-friendly products is also forecasted to bolster the growth of the smart coatings market in the next couple of years.