LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio market research analysts forecast the global electroactive polymers (EAP) market to grow at a CAGR of more than 7% during the forecast period, according to their latest report.
The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global electroactive polymers market for 2017-2021. The report also lists conductive plastics, inherently conductive polymers (ICPs) and inherently dissipative polymers (IDPs) as the three major types of electroactive polymers. The conductive plastics segment accounted for close to 81% of the market share in 2016.
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Technavio chemicals and materials analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global EAP market:
- Increased use of touchscreens
- Cost-effective and lightweight polymers
- Shift from EAC to EAP
Increased use of touchscreens
Haptic technology in electronic devices allows users to perceive touch sensations. An actuator made of EAP is embedded in the device, which helps in creating this touch sensation and making it more realistic. Many consumer devices are equipped with this technology. This technology is gaining prominence due to the increase in competition among vendors catering to the hand-held device market.
According to Mahitha Mallishetty, a lead analyst at Technavio for plastics, polymers, and elastomers research, “The global smartphone market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 8% during the forecast period, with China and India being the largest markets for smartphones during the forecast period. This increase in the demand for touchscreen smartphones will provide considerable prospects for the growth of the global EAP market.”
Cost-effective and lightweight polymers
Using polymers in applications such as robotics is more cost-effective than metals and semiconductor materials. The global problem of increasing healthcare costs can be solved using EAP in biomimetics and biomedicine.
“EAP polymers can be fabricated to resemble human muscles and mimic their movements. Therefore, they can be used for developing bioprosthetics for individuals with physical deformities,” says Mahitha.
EAP are lightweight, which is one of the most important properties aiding market growth. Their striction capability is more than two orders the magnitude of electroactive ceramics (EAC). While electric motors are weak, hydraulics and pneumatics are heavy for use in robotics or prosthetics. EAP are not only quiet but also capable of energy densities like biological muscles apart from being lightweight and cost-effective.
Shift from EAC to EAP
EAP have both low density as well as high toughness, inherent vibration damping, and large actuation strain constant. These unique properties of EAP have made the polymer attractive for use in biomimetic applications such as making biologically inspired intelligent robots. These polymers are emerging as a new actuation material with displacement capabilities that cannot be matched by the striction-limited and rigid ceramics. They can form any shape and be used for building sensors and actuators. Therefore, the improved properties of EAP over EAC is driving the growth of the market.
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