Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Self-Healing Materials: An Innovative Way To Approach Manufacturing And Increase Efficiency & Operational Capacity

Self-healing materials are contrived or simulated-created composites that possess various benefits, including instinctively repair damages or rebuilding attributed without any external aid. These aids include human or apparatus-based intervention. Generally, materials deteriorate over extended duration from fatigue due to damages occurring from operations and external environmental conditions. Desecration to material can occur on a microscopic level and can hamper the electrical, thermal, and acoustic properties of the material. Extended usage with damage of the material can lead to eventual failure of the material at an unexpected time. As cracks at microscopic levels are difficult to detect, periodic manual inspection and interference are often suggested at regular intervals to avoid catastrophe. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global self-healing materials market size was valued at USD 2.10 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach a valuation of USD 62.66 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 62.5% over the forecast period.

Halt of Manufacturing Plants and Disruptive Supply Chains 

The ongoing pandemic wreaked havoc on many general business practices, which included the sector of manufacturing & logistics and automobile. A halt on major exports, especially plastics and coated raw materials decreased the demand for self-healing materials due to inter-dependency. China accounts for a majority of global exports across a wide range of products. Around 80% of the global automobile supply chains are supplied by China. However, with the pandemic in 2020, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) reported a 40% drop in sales in 2020. 

Factors that contributed to this decline were production shortfalls, closure of warehouses, reduced supply, and disrupted supply chains. Prominent players in the automobile sectors, including Ford, General Motors, and Tesla also proved unsusceptible as factories were shut down. The consumer goods sector witnessed the blunt of the pandemic as disrupted supply chains and declining demand from consumer electronics, food & beverages, and packaging were observed. 

Expanding Construction Sector will Foster the Market Share Toward Higher Growth

An expansive construction sector on a global scale experienced high growth, even during the pandemic as healthcare infrastructure witnessed an exponential increase. Concrete is widely utilized for building & construction among widening applications such as storage tanks, tunnels, subways, and others. While being longer-lasting and hefty, concrete has the propensity to develop cracks and can cause unwanted chemicals and other particles to trickle in. 

Furthermore, rising constructional activities in public and private domains will trigger an increase in integration of self-healing materials on a wider scale. Rising awareness regarding the benefits of increased strength and extended lifespan within infrastructural will further push the need of such materials to a greater extent. 

Europe will Exert Dominance with Rising Awareness Regarding the Product’s Benefits 

Europe registered a value of USD 0.43 billion in 2020 and will witness considerable growth owing to certain attributes, including increased growth of the transportation sector coupled with rising integration of self-healing materials due to thermal & abrasion resistance, stiffness, and strength. The presence of many manufacturers present in Germany, France, the U.K., and Russia will further boost the industry. 

Fortune Business Insights lists some of the Dominant Players 

AkzoNobel N.V., Applied Thin Films Inc., Arkema SA, Autonomic Materials Inc., BASF SE, E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company, Evonik Industries, Sensor Coating Systems Ltd., Slips Technologies, Inc., and Acciona S.A are the dominant players. Some of these players are focused on establishing a global presence while others are striving to launch novel products to gain a competitive edge. 

Self-Healing Materials to be Used in the Wind Energy Sector 

The wind energy sector is one of the biggest shareholders of self-healing materials as rising composite applications are being implemented. Reinforced fibers are being used in light rotor blade manufacturing, which severely affects the weight, material behavior under load & fatigue, and a wide range of physical properties. Wind energy is directly proportional to cost where bottom-line approaches matter the most. Composites allow the usage of manufacturing materials with a higher degree of strength at a low weight, which increases the threshold of the sector. Glass is one of the majorly manufactured material that is being utilized for wind turbine blades. 

Utilization of Self-Healing Materials in Future

The transportation sector is expected to utilize the highest percentage of self-healing materials as there is rising demand for materials offering higher structural integrity for automobiles. Additionally, increased adoption of self-healing materials reduced the maintenance and operational costs. This trend is expected to be picked up by major manufacturers. In 2017, Lamborghini announced a strategic partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) toward developing a self-healing car under the brand name of Terzo Millennio. 

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