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Electroactive polymers charging up

January 26, 2006

1 Min Read
Electroactive polymers charging up

Advances in electroactive polymers for emerging technologies like flexible electronics will push the overall market for such resins to 170 million lb by 2006, according to a new report by Business Communications Inc. (BCCI; Norwalk, CT). In order to mirror conductivity found in metals, the materials often have to sacrifice processability, but in spite of these challenges they''re expected to enjoy an average annual growth rate of 7.1%, hitting a total market value of 240 million lb by 2011.

BCCI breaks electroactive polymers into several distinct groups, including conductive plastics, inherently conductive polymers (ICP), and inherently dissipative polymers. Conductive plastics, which BCCI predicts will constitute a 168 million lb market in 2006, will reach 235 million lb by 2011 thanks to an average annual growth rate of 6.9%. ICPs are pegged to hit 2.6 million lb in 2006, rising at an annual rate of 15.7% to 5.3 million lb in 2011.

Conductive polymers use fillers like carbon black and carbon fibers for electrostatic dissipation or electromagnetic shielding, while inherently conductive polymers are moving into newer applications, including organic light-emitting diodes for flat-panel displays, anticorrosion coatings, sensors, solar cells, textiles, capacitors, and in the future, organic transistors for flexible circuits.

The leading producers of ICPs like polythiophenes, polyanilines, and polypyrroles are Bayer MaterialScience, Ormecon, and Panipol. Conductive polymer producers are led by GE''s LNP, Noveon, and RTP.

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