Having gathered the attention of several academic and industrial researchers over the past few years, shape memory polymer market is expected to emerge as a prominent investment avenue for global manufacturers. The material holds the potential to bring fundamental transformation to a number of high-revenue industrial sectors. Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) are essentially stimuli-responsive materials that can be molded into other permanent shapes with relative ease, however, when exposed to an external stimulus, are capable of reverting back to their original shape.
A diverse array of SMPs are available in the market that are stimuli-responsive to different external stimulus such as pH, light, moisture, electricity and thermal heat. Today, SMPs find applications in several fields owing to their unique and special properties. Supposedly, SMPs can also be used in fabric materials to facilitate a number of fascinating and enhanced properties like improved aesthetic appeal, enhanced comfort, smart and controlled medicine administration, wound monitoring, intelligent wetting properties and elevated protection against volatile changes in environmental conditions.
U.S. Shape Memory Polymer Market Size, By End-user, 2014 – 2025 (USD Million)
SMP based textiles are commonly used to make SI suits for sailors deployed at sea. These SMP suits are even capable of adapting to temperature fluctuations and maintaining the wearers body temperature at a stable level. Over the forthcoming years, this application could enable shape memory polymer market size to increase substantially from the global textile industry, especially from the continuous increase in ocean travel and exploration activities.
SMPs are gradually finding vital applications in the field of biomedicine, where the material could play a role in innovating technology for future healthcare services, further diversifying the revenue stream for shape memory polymer market. SMPs are already being used to manufacture sutures for use in surgeries that involve stitches inside the patient’s body. Previously patients had to undergo secondary surgery to remove these internal stitches, whereas bio-compatible materials have now rendered the need for another surgical procedure unnecessary.
A large number of surgical clinics and healthcare organizations are using biodegradable SMP-based sutures that gradually dissolve overtime within the body. This effectively eliminates the requirement for a second surgery, giving shape memory polymer industry outlook a strong foothold in the global healthcare sector.
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Aerospace sector is emerging as a promising application segment to raise the global SMP market size due to highly suitable properties of the material that meet the challenging requirements of aircraft and spacecrafts. In fact, NASA Langley Research Center is actively conducting research and development to enhance the adhesive strength between metal alloys and shape memory polymer composites (SMPCs) to develop adaptive wing structures, smart medical devices and intelligent armors.
In 2018, NASA started an initiative that aims to mitigate the issue of acoustic emissions that are produced by jet engines. The aviation industry’s initial solution of increasing the engine’s bypass ratio at the expense of increased engine size has hit its limit. Furthermore, the numerous slats and flaps that are incorporated into the wings to alter its surface area and structure as and when required also contribute substantially to acoustic noise pollution.
To adhere to increasingly tightening noise pollution regulations, the organization has come up with a novel series of SMPCs known as LaRC-SMPC. Given that all airlines are required to adhere to these regulations, the global aviation sector can be expected to account for a considerable shape memory polymer market share.
Europe and North America are projected to become prominent growth contributors of the SMP industry. The presence of several well-established and flourishing aviation as well as automotive companies in the regions would ensure steady and consistent demands over the coming years. Automakers like GM have already made progress in the development of automotive smart memory materials comprised of shape memory alloys and polymers.
Owing to the ability of SMP industry to penetrate into a varied number of business sectors, it is certain that the materials would be witnessing elevated demands from several high-revenue application segments in the coming future. In fact, Global Market Insights, Inc. has predicted that annual revenues for global shape memory polymer market would be surpassing $1.4 billion by 2025.
Author Name : Akshay Kedari