Trends and innovations

    The transformations occurring in the energy, automotive, logistics, manufacturing, construction, and other industries, in combination with evolving industry 4.0 innovations, drive demand for new materials. The materials industry trends range from solutions for sustainability, lightweighting, 3D printing, and surface engineering, as well as in developing intelligent materials, nano-formulations, and advanced composites with enhanced characteristics.
    Further, widespread adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data management practices invigorates scientists to explore and develop novel materials much faster, accelerating the time-to-market from a couple of decades to just a few years.

Impact Of Industry Trends On The Materials Sector
    Developing sustainable, smart, and responsive materials that also offer improved physical properties. For example, biodegradable plastics, thermally adaptive fabric, or flexible displays. Novel formlations, including nanomaterials and biomaterials, impart new functionalities to existing materials while expanding the scope of innovation.
    Additive manufacturing, advanced composites, and 2D materials also lead to the development of various lightweight materials. Along with materials informatics and management, surface engineering impacts several industries from energy, automotive, and construction, to biotechnology, healthcare, and textiles.

Sustainable Materials
    The immense volume of waste generated during the use and production of materials forces governments to draft various environmental regulations. Practically all industries face challenges while rearranging their internal processes from the perspective of materials’ lifecycle. Companies in the construction, automotive, packaging, and manufacturing sectors are integrating sustainable materials and involving renewable energy sources into their processes. Eventually, these efforts aim to lessen the burden of waste on the planet. Sustainable materials also provide a boost for circular systems and allow for the implementation of a circular economy.
    Principles of a circular economy to fabricate sustainable construction materials. The carbon-negative pavement blocks, does not contain any cement by implementing a cost-effective manufacturing process. Using industrial waste, non-potable water, and carbon dioxide absorption technology, without diverting natural resources.  

Responsive & Smart Materials
    In order to comply with the requirements of certain industrial use cases, novel materials currently in development possess application-specific characteristics. Advancements in materials science allow for creating smart materials with programmable properties so that they behave or respond to stimuli from external factors. Work to design materials and products with diverse qualities, from thermo-, electro-, and photo-chromism to piezoelectricity, shape memory, self-healing, and phase-change attributes, among other characteristics.
    Ultra-compact miniature actuators on the basis of shape memory alloys. Memory effect in its materials, which are capable of sustaining extreme deformations, and later reverts to their original shape. This property supports the performance of the actuators even in small or dense installation spaces. Memetis solutions for consumer electronics, telecommunications, optical technology, mobility, and industry 4.0

    Advancements in nanotechnology show that the characteristics of materials at a nanoscale differ from those of their bulk equivalents. The proliferation of nanofibers, nanotubes, allotropes, quantum dots (QD), and other nanostructures enable an almost infinite source of value-addition, in the form of strengthened performance of industrial products, retained at an atomic level. By leveraging the power of nanoparticles, securing competitive edge, specifically in electronics, energy, mobility, and manufacturing sectors.
    Making boron nitride nanotubes with superhydrophobic, high electrical insulation and high thermal & mechanical stability characteristics. BNNano's powders, master alloys, masterbatches, and custom mixes to enhance the performance of aerospace, automotive, defense, and textile applications, as well as for radiation protection and thermal management.

Additive Manufacturing
    Emerging additive manufacturing facilities strive to evolve beyond traditional thermoplastics and apply materials that offer greater flexibility, customization, and functionality while producing lesser waste. The progress of 3D printing technologies, in turn, spurs the upgrades in metals, alloys, ceramics, fibers, and their compounds. It also encourages the appearance of completely new and durable polymer filaments with improved conductance, melting, ultraviolet (UV), and chemical resistance, among other properties.
    Polymeric materials for additive manufacturing that offer strengthened functional attributes, MAT3D aims to replace high-performance plastics for metal 3D printing, as well as a variety of resins with increased electrical, magnetic, anti-bacterial, and thermo-mechanical properties for industrial markets.

Light weighting
    Various industries, from aerospace to mobility, search for innovative ways to diminish excess weight and consequently provide superior fuel efficiency and handling. This drives research into materials like aluminum, magnesium, and titanium, as well as high-strength plastics and carbon fiber. These materials offer industries the option to reduce their environmental and operational burdens arising from their heavier parts. This materials industry trend also provides the safety and reliability levels, on par with heftier equivalents.
    Overcome lightweighting and performance limitations of aluminum in the mobility sector. It develops hybrid composite-metallic wheels for vehicles, augmented with carbon fiber. Fibratech’s material attains general mass reduction, stiffness increase, and design customisation, compared to widely used forged aluminum wheels.

Material Informatics
    Big companies today employ a data-driven approach to materials, enhanced by principles of informatics, computational techniques, as well as ML and AI. This allows them to arrange and model materials data in a meticulous manner. Moreover, in addition to optimizing the ability to reliably derive scientific insights from complex materials data, informatics also accelerates the timelines for research and development (R&D), saving resources on previously time-consuming and labor-intensive practices.
    Material science experts with data-driven tools for materials discovery. The computational techniques with patented artificial intelligence algorithms so as to lower the number of required scientific experiments and expedite screening procedures. Matellligence’s platform primarily targets clean energy, electronics, manufacturing, among other sectors.

Advanced Composites
    The rapid increase in the number of industrial applications also results in the development of a variety of composite or hybrid materials. In pursuit of improving performance and regulatory compliance, reducing cost, and incorporating customer preferences, emerging companies intend to innovate within resins, fibers, substrates, matrices, and finishes to build custom composites. These solutions provide advanced and user-specific applications, primarily for the infrastructure, energy, industry 4.0, and mobility markets.
    Innovative high-temperature resistant composites (HTRC) for satellites, rockets, and engine parts. It withstand temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Celsius, retain a low coefficient of thermal expansion, contain lightweight materials, and also reinforce mechanical robustness and durability.

Graphene & 2D Materials
    Breakthroughs in nanotechnology allow materials science companies to configure pathways for 2D, or single-layer, materials. Possessing inherent thermal conductivity and mechanical strength, 2D materials endow industrial applications with enhanced capabilities. However, a majority of 2D materials, such as germanene, silicene, stanene, and phosphorene, are still under development, excluding graphene. As the first 2D material successfully commercialized, graphene improves tensile strength, intra-sheet strength, surface durability, electron mobility, flexibility, and thermal resistance in a multitude of commercial markets.   These sectors span electronic displays, supercapacitors, automotive, construction paints, and plastic manufacturing.
    Focus on liquid graphene applications for a diverse range of markets. The Carbon Waters graphene dispersions provide barrier-coatings, lubrication, and anti-corrosion properties for industrial surfaces and mechanisms. In addition, the solution improves thermal management for electronics and semiconductors, as well as electrical conductivity for manufacturing and consumer devices.

Surface Engineering
    Exposed to continuous wear & tear, corrosion, UV rays, and other harmful factors, industrial surfaces require coatings that demonstrate improved durability. This is essential for protecting automotive, industrial, agricultural, marine, and manufacturing assets, as well as for increasing productivity. Besides, engineering innovations offer the possibility to grant surfaces the properties of hydrophobicity and omniphobicity, self-cleaning, and smoothing. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, surface engineers work to undertake efforts to master antimicrobials for more reliable protection in both industrial and non-industrial sites.
    Engineers innovate anti-soiling and self-cleaning coatings for the aerospace, telecom, construction, mobility, marine, and renewable energy sectors. Improving fuel consumption and airflow, diminishing corrosion, and optimizing materials efficiency. Additionally, OPUS allows for creating coating materials by design, and also supports the establishment of corresponding supply chains.

Materials Management 4.0
    Industry 4.0 is changing the face of manufacturing value chains, inducing the implementation of its practices in material management, handling, and processing. Spanning autonomous mining and advanced automated fabrication to robotic manipulations and cloud computing, the materials sector is being rapidly digitized and interconnected. As a result, the development of new materials comes in parallel with their industrial adaptation through the fourth-generation of industrial technologies.
    Solving material handling and mining inefficiencies with a set of AI-enhanced automation solutions. They optimise movement trajectories, machine-to-machine communications, and machine vision algorithms. In addition, INTSITE’s connected autonomous heavy machinery enables site owners to increase material handling productivity and organizational effectiveness.