That’s the growth rate predicted in a just-released report by a Indian research firm, Bharat Book Bureau. The report also says that sales will reach $12 billion by 2012, with advanced ceramics benefiting from significant expansion in electronics (such as capacitors), cutting tools, joint implants and membranes.
3B asserts that opportunities in electronics grow as ceramics are substituted for other materials, but acknowledges that much of this is dependent on what happens on a broad scale within the now-sluggish electronics sector.
On the other hand, growth in medical-related applications for ceramics seems more probable:
“In the medical product market, gains will derive from the increasing utilization of ceramics in joint implants and dental procedures. Demographic trends will also provide opportunities, as older individuals tend to require more joint replacements or dental work. In joint replacement, ceramics are valued because they are chemically inert, promote tissue and bone growth, and are not susceptible to attack by the body’s immune system. In dental applications, ceramics are valued for their opalescent color and translucence.”
Because of superior performance in high-temperature, chemical-intensive environments, ceramic members will find greater use in the chemical and plastic industries. 3B also believe there will be growth in energy applications such as natural gas purification and bearings in wind turbines.
One murky area for advanced ceramics is the industrial machinery industry. Ceramic cutting tools are highly regarded by machinery makers, but even significant performance advantages, according to 3B, may not be able to offset a major slowdown in this sector.