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Conductive coatings market poised for growth



By Tim Wright



Published June 15, 2009
A new report from NanoMarkets, an industry analyst firm, predicts that new opportunities are emerging in the conductive coatings market as the result of new applications and novel materials. Once a highly mature sector centered on coating or plating metals for equally slow-growing applications, the conductive coatings market will see a growth spurt brought on by demanding new requirements for electrodes, EMI/RFI shielding, and antistatic protection from next-generation electronics and energy devices. At the same time, new materials ranging from carbon nanotubes to conductive polymers to advanced composites, will provide significant competition to traditional metal coatings on cost, environmental and performance grounds. NanoMarkets' projections place the conductive coatings markets at $12.2 billion in 2014 going on to reach $15.9 billion in 2016 for the critical applications covered in electronics discussed in the report.

Electrode coatings with enhanced conductivity will prove a key enabling technology in emerging areas such as large area sensors, fuel cells and especially photovoltaics (PV). NanoMarkets believes that advanced materials—such as mixtures of silver and transparent conducting oxides—could provide a way forward to higher efficiencies in solar panels. Conductive coatings sold into the photovoltaics sector will reach $1.6 billion in revenues by 2014.

Because nanomaterials are at an early stage they offer the best prospects for a leap forward in conductive coating technology. Carbon nanotube coatings are already being used to beef up performance in fuel cells, lighting and displays and NanoMarkets also sees a significant market developing for nanosilver pastes for sensors, certain kinds of capacitors and EMI/RFI shielding. While nanomaterials used in the conductive coatings sector today are negligible, by 2014, nanomaterials-based conductive coatings are expected to reach $415 million in revenues.

Also by 2014, more than $450 million in conductive coatings will be sold for antistatic protection and EMI/RFI shielding applications. Growth in this market will be spurred by growth of wireless communications with its inherent need for shielding and higher levels of chip integration which will require more protection from static electricity. NanoMarkets also expects new uses to emerge in this sector such as RF shielding used to prevent access to data stored on RFID chips. It also anticipates that there will be a growing shift from metallic coatings towards the use of conductive polymers for EMI/RFI shielding on cost and environmental grounds.

Further details about the report are available at www.nanomarkets.net.


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