The market for sol-gel derived products is projected to experience significant growth over the next five years, according to an updated study. Credit: BCC Research.

BCC Research has released an updated study on the market for products created using sol-gel processing techniques of ceramics and glass, and the company says it expects sales in the multi-billion dollar range in five years.

The study is based on an analysis published in 2006 by ACeS member Thomas Abraham, who has been a speaker at several Society meetings.

The new report says that the global market for sol-gel products reached $1.4 billion in 2011 and will grow to $2.2 billion by 2017 (a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 percent). The US market for sol-gel products amounted to about one-third of the total for 2011, and BCC predicts it will grow faster than the world-market average, to $888.5 million by 2017 (CAGR of 10.1 percent).

Regarding the dynamics at play in these markets, BCC asserts that while the “US has become a leader in sol-gel research and development however, historically Japan has been able to commercialize sol-gel technology and market products faster.” The company also notes that Germany is the most competitive European country in the sol-gel field.

Sol-gel techniques have gained popularity because they can in many cases produce ceramics and glass with better purity and homogeneity than high-temperature, conventional processes.

Sol-gel approaches have been used in a wide variety of applications, including:

• Coatings and thin films used in electronic, optical and electro-optic components and devices;

• Antireflection coatings for automotive and architectural uses;

• Protective and decorative coatings for glass, metal and other types of substrates;

• Dental and biomedical products that serve as carriers for biomolecules;

• Fiber optic sensors;

• Thermal insulation;

• Abrasives;

• Passive and nonlinear active waveguides and lasers; and

• Membranes for separation and filtration.

ACerS has a number of excellent books and publications about sol-gel processing available at the ACerS-Wiley bookstore.