Growth Prediction Lowered for U.S. Advanced Ceramics Industry
Structural CeramicsAmong structural ceramics, 43% are used as wear-resistant parts such as liners, guides, pulleys, dies, nozzles, grinding media, valves, seals, plungers, bearings, and parts for pulp and paper making. Although the cost of many of these components remains a barrier, structural ceramics are being increasingly commercialized. Another important application has been for components used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The U.S. military has also been contributing to this market by its increased use of ceramic armor. The U.S. advanced structural ceramics market is expected to grow from $541 million in 2000 to $736 million in 2005 and will have the largest average annual growth rate (6.3%) over the next five years compared to other advanced ceramics markets.
Next to wear-resistant ceramics is bioceramics, with 20% of the structural ceramics market share. Bioceramic applications include ceramics and glass-ceramics implants and glass-ceramic dental crowns and posterior materials.
Ceramic cutting tool inserts constitute about 17% of the structural ceramics market. These include alumina (Al2O3), Al2O3/TiC, SiC whisker-reinforced alumina, silicon nitride and sialon. The ceramic cutting tool markets have gotten a boost due to the commercialization and increased availability of SiC whisker-reinforced alumina and silicon nitride tool inserts at competitive prices.