Conductive polymers are organic polymers having high electrical conductivity. These can have metallic conductivity or semiconductors. The electrical properties can be customized using method of organic synthesis. The major advantage it offers is process ability through dispersions. These coatings are made up some basic polymers those could be polyaniline, polypyrrole and polyacetylene. The applications of conductive polymer coatings include sensors, optical & electronic materials, actuators, bio-sensors, super-capacitors, bio-implants and corrosion protection for electrical energy storage.
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Growing demand for conductive polymer coatings from electrical & electronics industry is expected to drive the market. These are replacing metals and other conductive compounds in electronics due to low weight. These coatings are less toxic and less damaging to environment as compared to metals. Due to advantages, it is being used in flat screen displays for computers, mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other screens. With rising disposable income and modernization, demand for electronics have increased tremendously which in turn expected to drive market growth for conductive polymer coatings. Further, growing demand for conductive polymer coatings from organic solar cells is expected to fuel the market. The Organic Electronics Association (OEA) is promoting organic semiconductors in these applications. Organic semiconductors offer better and improved electromagnetic interference and electrostatic discharge as compared to other semiconductors.
However, high processing and production cost is expected to hamper the market growth for conductive polymer coatings. These coatings are developed for specific application that requires high end research & development activities and huge capital. These coatings may lose their solubility in water and other organic solvents and therefore it becomes difficult to process. Few polymer coatings that are charged become unstable in presence of atmospheric moisture. These factors regarding coatings may hamper the market growth.
Technological advances and research & development activities in the field of nano-chemistry and optical chemistry are expected to provide opportunities for the players in this market. These activities may open up new applications for conductive polymer coatings. For example, Crosslink developed protective coatings for protection of aircraft transparencies and canopies. Another example of this would be conductive polymer coatings applications in smart textiles for enhancing the mechanical properties of fabric.
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Asia Pacific emerged as largest market for conductive polymer coatings in terms of consumption. With major players from electrical & electronics industry have shifted their manufacturing bases to China for low production cost, the consumption of these coatings have increase. However, conductive polymer coatings manufacturers are not concentrated in this region. Asia Pacific was followed by North America in terms of consumption. Owing to demand from optical and electrical applications conductive polymer coatings are expected to show moderate growth rate. The demand for conductive polymer coatings from Europe is expected to exhibit highest growth rate as compared to other regions. With development of organic semiconductor coatings and advantageous properties for electronics applications, the demand is expected to be high. Additionally, conductive polymer coatings are less hazardous to environment as compared to metals and therefore environmental agencies compel the original equipment manufacturers to use these coatings.
Global conductive polymer coatings market is highly concentrated with few major international companies dominating the market. Some players in the conductive polymer coatings market include Heraeus, The Lubrizol Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, Crosslink, ITEK, Henkel Electronics, NanoMarkets LLC., IDTech EX, Voltaic Coatings, CBI Polymers Inc., AnCatt among others.