Advanced materials are future materials promising significant return on investments to manufacturing firms. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) defines advanced materials as: ‘materials designed for targeted properties. Investment in research and development of advanced materials relates to enhancing the properties of traditional materials (viz. metals, polymers, ceramics, glasses and composites) to obtain superior performance for a targeted application.
Advanced materials can be broadly classified into the following types:
Structural materials- The major classes include metals, metallic alloys and metal matrix composites (MMC); polymers and polymer matrix composites (PMC); ceramics and ceramic matrix composites (CMC); together with concretes, glasses and natural materials, e.g. wood
Functional materials- These materials generally exhibit some non-structural properties; such as electronic, magnetic or optical properties, and are incorporated into associated functional devices and systems; for example, microelectronics, photonics and electrical machines. Materials under this field are classified under plastic electronics, superconductors, magnetic materials, electronic materials for use in extreme environments (e.g. SiC), compound semiconductors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and optical materials.
Multifunctional materials- These materials represent a diverse and multidisciplinary area, with links to functional, structural and biomaterials. These materials have high value application in aerospace, transportation; healthcare; packaging; energy; construction; security; consumer products and defense industries. In addition, there are strong environmental, energy-related and sustainability drivers, increasingly being underpinned by legislation. Two examples of applications to illustrate this field are: damage tolerant, self-diagnostic and self-healing materials; and fully-integrated structural/power generating materials.
Biomaterials- Biomaterials can be defined either as materials applied to a biological system or materials derived from a biological source. Applications in biological system include implants, tissue scaffolds and sensors. An application of biologically sourced material, biopolymers offers the prospect of a renewable source for new materials with low carbon footprint. Biomass-generated polymers include celluloses, starches, chitosan and proteins.
Nanomaterials- Nanomaterials cross function advanced materials considered to be a subset of each of the above categories, operating at the nanoscale (less than 100nm dimension). An improved understanding of materials at the nanoscale, and the ability to control their structure provides potential to develop a range of products with novel characteristics, functions and applications. Classes of nanomaterials include thin films and surface coatings (1-D); nanotubes, wires and fibers (2-D); and nanoparticles, quantum dots and nanocrystalline materials (3-D).
Prismane consulting helps companies identify opportunities within advanced materials industry and guides them in market entry and market penetration strategies for their specific products.