Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon having cylindrical nanostructure. Carbon Nanotube is a tube-shaped material made up of carbon molecule, having a diameter of approximately nanometer (one-billionth of a meter or one ten-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair). Carbon nanotubes has many different structure, depending on length, thickness and type of helicity (projection of the spin on direction of momentum), and number of layers. All the carbon nanotubes are made up of similar graphite sheet. However, electrical characteristic of the carbon nanotubes (acting as metals or semiconductor) depends on the structure it exhibits. Carbon nanotubes exhibit excellent mechanical strength, comparable to graphite. Thermal and electric conductivity property of carbon nanotube can replace various materials in wide range of application such as consumer goods, electrical and electronics, energy, healthcare, automobile, aerospace, and defense sectors. Other application where carbon nanotube technology can be used as includes, conductive plastics, flat-panel displays, gas storage, batteries with improved lifetime, technical textiles, antifouling paint and micro- and nano-electronics.
Carbon nanotube materials can be bifurcated on the bases of its structure and number of layers it contains. Major used carbon nanotubes materials include single-wall nanotubes (SWNT) (having diameter close to 1nm), multi-wall nanotubes (MWNT) (diameter ranging between 5 nm to 50 nm) and double-wall nanotubes (DWNT) (sub-segment of multi-wall nanotubes). Multi-wall nanotube has major market share in global carbon nanotube market, followed by single-wall nanotubes. Asia Pacific has the largest marker share for carbon nanotube materials, followed by North America and Europe. North American market for carbon nanotube materials was badly affected by recession in past few years. Asia Pacific region is expected to maintain its dominance in the global carbon nanotube market due to increasing domestic demand in the electronics, semiconductors and advanced materials industries. North American market for carbon nanotube is expected to pick up pace while, Asia Pacific region is expected to witness double digit growth in coming future.
Carbon nanotubes having superior property and adaptability qualities compared to other material is driving the overall demand for carbon nanotube materials. Additionally, growing demand for carbon nanotubes materials by different end-user industries such as, electrical and electronics, energy, healthcare, automobile, aerospace is expected to drive the global market. This has influenced the manufacturing companies to increase their productivity of carbon nanotube to withstand the increasing global demand. Also, increasing industrialization, especially in the developing nations of Asia Pacific and Middle-East countries is further expected to provide ample growth opportunity for the manufacturing companies to establish their market in these regions.
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Global carbon nanotubes market majorly revolves around few multinational companies. However, the market also consists of certain regional players. Some of the companies operating in the global carbon nanotube market are Arkema S.A., CNano Technology Limited, Nanocyl SA, Showa Denko K.K., Hyperion Catalysis International Inc., Nanolab Inc., Unidym Inc., Arry International Group Limited, Continental Carbon Company, Carbon Solutions, Inc., Hanwha Chemical Corporation, Klean Carbon Inc and NanoIntegris Inc.