Advanced Ceramic and Nanoceramic Powders to Grow Over Next Four Years, Says BCC Research

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Norwalk, Conn. -- According to a soon-to-be-released updated report from Business Communications Co. Inc. (BCC), RGB-102U Advanced Ceramic Powders and Nano Ceramic Powders, the total U.S. market for advanced ceramic powders in 2002, including nano-sized powders, is estimated to be 918 million pounds worth $1.6 billion.

This is projected to increase to 1.2 billion pounds worth $2.3 billion by the year 2007 as the value of the market grows at an AAGR (annual average growth rate) of 7.3 percent through the forecast period.

In 2002, advanced ceramic powder still constituted 97.5 percent in volume and 90.4 percent in value. However in the next five years, the volume will go down to 95.9 percent while the value will go down to 89.5 percent. This is due to increased usage of nanoceramic powders. Among the ceramic powders, oxide constitutes 97.3 percent of the market in volume and 88.5 percent in value in 2002. However, by 2007, volume share of the oxides will be 98.2 percent, while the value share will go down slightly to 87.9 percent.

Nano-sized powders are now available in developmental, prototype and commercial quantities. There are several companies attempting to use these materials. Applications include nano-sized iron oxide powders used as very fine abrasives for chemical mechanical polishing, burning catalysts for solid fuel rockets, magnetic recording media, optical fiber coatings, magnetic materials in ferrofluids, fuel cells, oxygen sensors, optoelectronic devices, and developmental and prototype ceramic components. For 2002, BCC has estimated that the total consumption of nano-sized ceramic powders was about 23.3 million pounds worth $154 million. This is expected to grow 9.3 percent per year on average to reach 48.8 million pounds worth $241.2 million by the year 2007.

In terms of applications, currently the largest share goes to combined electronic, magnetic and optical applications with 53.4 percent, followed by chemical and environmental related applications with 40.1 percent. Structural ceramics constitute a distant third with 4.5 percent, followed by thermal spray coatings with 2.1 percent. By 2007, both electronic and structural applications will increase their shares slightly at the cost of chemical and environmental related applications.

In terms of growth rates, the largest goes to structural ceramics, with an AAGR of 9.6 percent. The structural ceramic applications area will be followed by electronics/magnetic/optical with an AAGR of 7.5 percent. Chemical and environmental applications will see an annual growth rate of 6.9 percent, followed by thermal spray coatings with 5.3 percent.

U.S. companies have caught up with Japanese and European companies in research and development as well as in commercialization of new powder synthesis techniques and in particular nano-sized ceramic powders. Foreign companies dominate the U.S. in silicon nitride and electronic grade aluminum nitride powders. In all other areas, the U.S. has a good footing and is expected to continue its dominance. One major reason for this healthy growth has been due to growth in the U.S. economy compared to Europe and Japan, although all the economies have been struggling since 2001. The U.S. ceramic consumption is getting an added boost due to increased military spending since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and this growth trend is expected to continue for the next five years.

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