The Global Carbon Nanotubes market was valued at around USD 2.6 billion in 2020 and the market is projected to register a CAGR of about 20% during the forecast period (2021-2026). The global carbon nanotubes market is hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic as electronics market is currently witnessing negative repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has also been holding impact on the CNT demand from the electronics industry. However, with easing lockdowns in various countries as noticed from the start of second half of 2020, the electronics market is likely to recover by 2021.
- Over the medium term, the major factors driving the growth of the carbon nanotubes market is the increasing use of nanotubes in technological advancements in various fields, including medicine, electronics, engineering, and various other applications.
- Various environmental concerns and health and safety issues are expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- Multi-walled carbon nanotubes dominated the market is expected to expand at a significant rate during the forecast period, owing to the increasing application of carbon nanotubes for battery additives, anti-static plastic parts, etc.
- Increasing use of electronic and storage devices is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the globe with the largest consumption seen in countries, such as China and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Growing Adoption of Carbon Nanotubes in the Electronics Industry
- Electronics represent the largest end-user industry, in terms of revenue, for the carbon nanotube market. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted significant interest by exhibiting extraordinary electrical properties for organic materials, and they have a huge potential in electrical and electronic applications, such as photovoltaics, sensors, semiconductor devices, displays, and conductors.
- The application of CNTs for the manufacture of electronics has three scenarios, which include the integration of CNTs into thermal interface materials (TIMs), applying CNTs for interconnection, and using CNTs as cooling fins. One of the major applications of carbon nanotubes in the electronics industry is in the area of on-chip thermal management. The heat generated by the microprocessors is considerably high and the problem of heat dissipation involved is turning into a major issue. Recent studies reported that due to the high axial thermal conductivity of individual carbon nanotubes, along with efficient cooling via carbon nanotube on silicon chips, efficient heat dissipation is successfully achieved.
- While it becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to further shrink the size of transistors in ICs, the future miniaturization of electronics to keep the Mooreâ€™s Law is expected to be mainly driven by the advances of the manufacturing technologies, which aim at increasing the density of integration at a system level. This challenge in the transistor industry resulted in the penetration of CNTs in the transistor industry. Building transistors from carbon nanotubes enables minimum transistor dimensions of a few nanometers and the development of techniques to manufacture integrated circuits built with nanotube transistors.
- Although CNTs have been widely considered as superior candidates for flexible electronics due to their high mobility, their practical applications have been limited by the lower performance of flexible CNT thin-film transistors (TFTs), when compared to those built on rigid substrates (such as silicon wafer or glass). For instance, flexible CNT integrated circuits typically exhibit low-speed operation with logic gate delays of over 1 microseconds.
- However, this situation could be changed with the new advancements in research (IBM Research). IBM is one of the several companies tackling the scalability problem of CNT and intended to make them commercially available over the next few years.
- Ensembles of CNTs form networks that can be transparent and at the same time conductive, showing great potential for replacing the currently used indium tin oxide (ITO) (which is currently used in touchscreens and displays), whose future availability is at risk due to the impoverishment of the world's sources of indium. IBM is one of several companies tackling this scalability problem, as it strives to make CNT chips commercially available over the next few years.
- CNTs are also used for manufacturing conductive coatings. They are used for manufacturing conducting ink, which can be used for printing electronics. Due to the extremely small size of the carbon nanotubes, it is possible to develop electrically conducting films, which possess good optical transparency. Such transparent conducting films are typically used for developing touch screens, OLED displays, solar cells, etc. These are examples of the growing areas in which carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can offer many appealing advantages over rigid silicon, such as lower cost, lower power, larger area fabrication, or even roll-to-roll production.
- The current scenario of the semiconductor industry is expected to influence the growth of market demand for CNTs in electronic applications. However, electronics market is currently witnessing negative repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has also been holding impact on the CNT demand from electronics industry. However, the electronics market is likely to recover by 2021.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the globe with the largest consumption recorded by the countries, China and Japan.
- China is the largest producer and consumer of carbon nanomaterials in Asia-Pacific. The abundance of available raw materials and the low cost of production have been supporting the production growth of the carbon nanomaterials market in the country.
- China has the worldâ€™s largest electronics production base and offers tough competition to existing upstream producers, such as South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.
- Electronic products, such as smartphones, OLED TVs, tablets, etc., have the highest growth in the market in the consumer electronics segment. With the increase in the disposable income of the middle-class population, the demand for electronic products is estimated to grow, thereby driving the CNT market in the near future.
- The electronics manufacturing industry is constantly expanding in China, as a result of low cost and increasing demand for electronics products. With the increase in the disposable income of the middle-class population, the demand for electronic products is projected to grow in the near future.
- Additionally, the Japanese aerospace industry manufactures aircraft components mainly for commercial aircraft and defense aircraft. The production of commercial aircraft has been increasing over the last couple of years, owing to increasing cargo demands.
- Japan manufactures the F-35A next-generation fighter jet and other military aircraft, thereby strengthening the foundation of aerospace manufacturing in the country. The country also plays a central role in the development of aircraft, such as the Boeing 767, 777, 777X, and 787, and engines, such as the V2500, Trent1000, GEnx, GE9X, PW1100G-JM, etc.
- In addition, the Japanese healthcare sector is another factor boosting the demand for carbon nanotubes (in comparison to other countries). According to OECD statistics on health expenditure by country, the Japanese healthcare market ranked third in the world, following the United States and China.
- The growing demand from various end-user industries is likely to propel the market in the region.
The carbon nanotubes market is partially consolidated in nature. The major players are constantly focusing on R&D for product innovation and capacity expansions, along with collaborations with local or regional distributors and manufacturers. Some of the major players of the market include Chengdu Organic Chemicals Co. Ltd. (Timesnano), Cabot Corporation, Jiangsu Cnano Technology Co., Ltd., Showa Denko KK, and LG Chem among others.
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