Advanced Ceramics

Demand for Advanced Ceramics Continues to Rise

Demand for advanced ceramics in the U.S. is forecast to increase 6% annually to $14 billion in 2015, according to “Advanced Ceramics,” a recent study from the Freedonia Group Inc. Demand will be boosted by an increase in original equipment manufacturing in the U.S., especially of motor vehicles and electrical equipment, from modest 2010 levels.

Further growth will come in environmental markets, where new regulations are expected to increase demand for pollution control systems that use advanced ceramic filters and membranes. Additional growth in ceramic membrane sales will come as they replace other filtration media because of their better performance and durability. Ceramic bearing demand will increase in the turbine market for similar reasons. The medical, aerospace and energy markets are projected to grow as well, as new materials offering better performance and longer part life are introduced. Joint replacements, including ceramic-on-ceramic and recently approved ceramic-on-metal hip replacements, should post strong gains as the U.S. population continues to age.

Transportation equipment markets are projected to register double-digit annual gains through 2015. An upturn in motor vehicle production, especially of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, will spur increased demand for ceramic parts used in commercial diesel and gasoline engines. In addition, new regulations (now being phased in) that control diesel particulate emissions, as well as other pollutants, will spark growth in the filtration and catalyst segments. Environmental markets will rise at a strong rate through 2020, spurred by growing emissions control spending by U.S. industry.

The overall market for advanced ceramics is impacted by the performance of the electronic components industry. More than one-quarter of all demand for advanced ceramics came from this market in 2010, and it will remain the largest market going forward, boosted by growth in piezoceramics. Semiconductors are the biggest single segment of this market, followed in size by capacitors. However, U.S. production-and associated materials demand-for capacitors and semiconductors will grow at a below-average pace, as manufacturing activity continues to shift to lower cost parts of the world.

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