The global market for sol-gel products was valued at $1.6 billion in 2013, according to a recent report by BCC Research entitled “Sol-Gel Processing of Ceramics and Glass.” This is estimated to grow to $1.7 billion in 2014 and $2.5 billion by 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% in the next five years.
The sol-gel technique enables the processing of glasses and ceramics at low temperature in various desirable shapes such as monoliths, films, fibers or nano-sized powders. One of the most attractive features of the sol-gel process is that it can produce compositions that cannot be created with conventional methods. Another benefit is that the mixing level of the solution is retained in the final product, often on the molecular scale.
The U.S. market is expected to exceed $656 million in 2014 and $1.05 billion by 2019, with a CAGR of 9.9%. The fastest growth is expected to be in electronic applications, followed by biomedical and optical applications with CAGRs of 14.9%, 11.3%, and 10.2%, respectively.
“Applications of sol-gel technology and commercialization of products have been growing in recent years, due in part to improvements in processing and economics," said Thomas Abraham, Ph.D., BCC Research analyst. “It makes it possible to combine and distribute organic molecules within inorganic oxide networks to form organic/inorganic hybrids. Such combinations form the basis for countless novel materials.”