Thursday, 26 May 2016

3D printing adds new dimensions to aerogel market

Graphene aerogel based supercapacitors are in. Novel development techniques unearth ground breaking applications in the aerogel market.

Since its induction, aerogels gained market publicity, owing to innovative applications that its ultra-low density properties could be put through. The magic created by these open celled porous substances reiterated through market verticals such as fashion, defense, electronics, stellar explorations, and environmental cleaning. With three dimensional printing technology at hand, experts ventured out to experiment with structures and materials to manipulate existing aerogels as well as to construct new ones. Graphene aerogels has hit the market with the promise of immense energy storage capabilities duly incorporated to create supercapacitors for electronic industries.

Magic elements of aerogel market

It is indeed sheer magic how different properties are achieved in aerogels in spite being constructed with the same class of components. The impressive properties are retained, while undesirable ones are eliminated during further approach. In due course, derived products register lowest record values for density, thermal conductivity, dielectric constant, optical index, and speed of sound through any substance, plus highest specific surface area ever in any solid material. The impact has been far reaching in almost all business segments, forcing them to reconsider materials used by them.
Thickening agent in surface coatings and cosmetics; building light-weight, yet durable goods such as footwear; providing building and equipment insulation, both electrical and thermal; absorbing accidental oil-spills and other industrial wastes; fabricating insulating garments and light jewelry in fashion industry – the applications root deeply and diversely into global aerogel markets.

Role of additive manufacturing

The hype about aerogels surely increased demand over time, yet extraction techniques restrained market growth for a long time. Correspondingly, there were more than two hundred materials and colors discovered which could be used in additive manufacturing. When brought together, the possibility of additive construction of aerogel lattice using graphene and polymers materialized. With the implied consistency in net features, displayed by 3D printed graphene aerogels, a fresh set of applications cropped up for Aerogel Market. Higher compressive ratios called for better shock absorbers, while enhanced conductivity led to supercapacitors and innovative solid-state batteries. Gold aerogels, now comes across as efficient catalysts in industrial reactions, with small quantities of gold spread over a large surface area.

If the equation still does not add up for you, let’s talk construction techniques. The graphene-oxide composite ink was used to create geometrically complex 3D supercapacitors through direct-ink printing. Earlier the silica or polymer complex had to burnt away after printing the structures, which in itself posed damaging hazards. Freeze casting technique stepped up to rescue. Printing at extremely low temperatures caused instant freezing of graphene-oxides, while silica or polymer component of ink ‘melted’ away. Water directed from another nozzle over the cast structure maintained structural support. The entire unit was dried in liquid nitrogen to remove water depositions, while structurally sound graphene lattice remained. Researchers take the result forward to experiment with crossing two or more ink-material to explore possibilities.

Structured aerogel market

Global aerogel market is developing dynamically with its ongoing research in manufacturing techniques. Combination of advanced techniques with various composite ratios will keep cropping up new applications, and eventually new markets. Investment opportunities are huge are spread over a vast range of business verticals. For major players this is a crucial time to realize end-vertical needs and stack up their research and development activities. Aerogel manufacturers need to mark areas with material deficit or opportunity in fresh segments and accordingly strategize development of materials.

Pipeline growth is expected during the current decade given the raised demand for smart wearables and electronics that could use the light-weight properties of aerogel batteries. Allied Market Research in its report titled “World Aerogel Market - Opportunities and Forecast, 2014 – 2021”, predicted stabilized market growth owing to the miscellaneous applications it serves. The report provides a complete understanding of the prevalent market structure, giving an insight to the motivating and limiting factors that affect operations. It outlines business strategies of the leading market players outlining profitable pockets for stakeholders and prospective investors.