According to a new study published by Polaris Market Research the global self-healing materials market is anticipated to reach USD 8.23 billion by 2026. Self-healing materials are artificially developed substances that are capable of restoring and repairing their functionality automatically without the requirement of any external or human intervention. These materials have the inbuilt capacity to substantially recover their load transferring ability after damage. Since its introduction, there have been numerous innovations in the field of self-healing materials.
These products are being developed for application in smart phone screens and are made of ionic salts and stretchable polymers. These components are not only capable of healing scratches & cuts but also conduct electricity. They consist of bonds such as an ion-dipole interaction, which is a strong force between polar molecules and charged ions. These ions attract each other when the material experiences scratches or minute cracks. However, it takes around twenty-four hours for the ions to get back to their original formation.
In recent times, self-healing materials such as epoxy resins, hydrogels among others have found applications in concrete and roofing materials. Researchers in this field have discovered a specific bacteria group, which are embedded in the concrete thereby aiding the material to heal cracks. These bacteria produce metabolic calcium carbonate which acts as the healing agent. Further research and development in this sector has led to the introduction of soak clay balls that contain these bacteria types which are then added to concrete used in various construction projects such as residential buildings, bridges, tunnels etc.
As the water starts penetrating the concrete structure, these bacteria or microorganisms become active and hence, release calcium carbonate, which is one of the primary components of concrete mixtures. These bacteria are capable of closing cracks, however only up to a range of few millimeters.
Some of the other recent developments that have been commercially introduced in the market include the self-healing screen used in smart phones. Motorola uses shatterproof displays which are an example of the application of these components used in smart phone displays in the present scenario. These advancements in the industry along with such high rate of commercialization of these products in the industry are some significant factors that support a robust growth of self-healing materials in the near future.
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Key findings from the study suggest that the largest share of the market in 2017 was of the North American region. This is due to the fact that major research projects in this field have been undertaken in universities along with support from the multinationals in the U.S. The country was the leading market in terms of production for the past few years. The substantially advanced automobile, aerospace manufacturing sector in the U.S. has been the major industries driving demand of these products since its inception.
Major industry participants manufacturing these products in the global market space include Dow Chemicals, AkzoNobel, Huntsman Advanced Materials, and Autonomic Materials, Slips Technologies, Inc., Sensor Coating Systems Ltd., Acciona S.A., Applied Thin Films, Inc. (ATFI), Akzo Nobel N.V., Avecom N.V., Autonomic Materials Inc., BASF SE, Covestro AG (Formerly Bayer Material Science), Critical S.A. and Devan Chemicals.