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Electronic polymer market to grow by 14.5%

Posted: 07 Dec 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Frost & Sullivan  RFID  conductive polymer  ICP  OLED 

Global demand for conductive electronic polymer products will expand by 14.5 per cent per year until 2008, according to Frost & Sullivan's Advances in Plastics for Electronic Devices research.

Plastic electronics based on inherently conductive polymers (ICPs) and flexible substrates can change the electronics industry, the research firm said. At present, the industry heavily relies on plastic as low-cost solution for thermal management in devices with its insulation and conductive properties.

Future products include roll-up displays for computers and cell phones, flexible solar panels for power portable equipment, as well as ultralow-cost RFID tags. Recently-developed conductive transparent polymers also function as OLED in displays. New materials such as carbon nanotubes and organic molecules, with conducting and semiconducting properties, are set to bring in sophisticated plastic electronic displays for cell phones and portable devices, the Frost & Sullivan report further said.

The ongoing trend towards miniaturisation and the consequent demand for high-performance plastics that provide tough, stable parts with thin walls will intensify the search for speciality polymers.

Compact and complex PCBs with rising operating temperatures are pushing researchers to focus on the thermal management capabilities of plastics used in electronic devices. In addition to new resins, additives and fillers to meet thin-wall and high-temperature requirements for moulded parts, there is a need for more-efficient heat sinks that that are used to cool semiconductors, reported Frost & Sullivan.

Moreover, thermally conductive thermoplastics are also eyed as alternatives for aluminium and copper as development materials for heat sinks for electronics.

Meanwhile, the growing use of lead-free soldering to comply with the RoHS directive is said to add to the demand for plastics with exceptional thermal management properties. Hence, new plastic materials must accommodate higher soldering temperatures of about 250°C to 260°C, especially for electronic parts that undergo surface-mount reflow soldering.

Compounds made of high-temperature thermoplastics such as liquid crystal polymer and polyethersulfone used in moulded interconnect devices and low-k dielectric polymers in semiconductor fabrication are also expected to register strong growth.

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