Shape-Memory Polymer Market size is forecast to reach $2.1 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 26.8% during 2021-2026. A shape memory polymer is a polymeric smart material that, when prompted by an external stimulus, can return from a deformed temporary state to its original permanent state. Shape-memory polymers are made with a glass transition temperature (Tg) that can be adjusted between 299 and 322 °C.
The widespread use of shape-memory polymers including polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, and polyurethane for efficient drug delivery in cardiovascular stents, healthcare, splints, orthopedic braces, catheters, and orthodontic braces will drive the industry’s growth in the coming years. The expanding item demand in the automotive and aeronautic industries will be another key development driving factor for the shape memory polymers industry. However, the market’s growth will be hampered by the relatively low stiffness values of shape-memory polymers over the forecast period.
The covid-19 outbreak had a significant effect on the automotive, construction, textile, and aerospace industry. Construction work in various regions came to a standstill owing to the nationwide lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this, the demand for construction materials significantly reduced, which affected the market shape-memory polymers. Additionally, the textile industry also faced various problems such as hindrance in production, fluctuating raw material prices, transportation problems, non-availability of skilled workers, sale of textile products, and reduced export/import orders, besides restrictions.
Furthermore, the production and demand for automobiles fell in various regions owing to the pandemic. For instance, in June 2020, Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) reported a 96.7% decline in domestic sales to 375 units in May amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown and operational restrictions. With such hindrance in the automotive, construction, textile, and aerospace industry activities the market of the shape-memory polymer was also hindered in 2020.
Shape-memory Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By Polymer Type
The polyurethane (PU) segment held the largest share with more than 30% in the shape-memory polymer market in 2020 and is growing at a significant CAGR of 27% during 2021-2026. The existence of macro domains of soft and hard segments in the bulk of polyurethane gives it intrinsic shape memory, making it a possible candidate for a variety of applications. Electromagnetic insulation, self-healing, pressure bandages, cardiovascular implants, bone tissue engineering, and other applications may all benefit from shape memory. The growing production of polyurethane based shape memory polymers, as well as their widespread use in biomedical applications, is projected to drive this segment’s growth and market share.
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Shape-memory Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By Stimulus Type
The temperature-induced segment held the largest market share of more than 25% in the shape-memory polymer market in 2020. Textiles integrated with these shape-memory polymers such as polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, and polyurethane can help in achieving different 3D forms in garments. Window curtains or films with temperature-induced shape-memory polymers can also act under the influence of heat, which changes the microstructure and macrostructure properties of smart clothing. Hence, owing to the above-mentioned reasons, temperature-induced shape-memory polymers demand is on an upsurge. And as such there are numerous opportunities in the textile industry, which is driving the demand for temperature-induced smart polymers market.
Shape-memory Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The biomedical segment held the largest share of more than 25% in the shape-memory polymer market in 2020. Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) such as polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, and polyurethane have generated substantial interest for biomedical applications. Shape-memory polymers (SMP) are stimuli-responsive and can turn from a temporary to a permanent shape when stimulated.
Form memory polymers are suitable and promising materials for a range of biomedical technological applications, including the fabrication of smart biomedical devices, due to their advanced functionality. Shape-memory polymers can help with minimally invasive surgery, structural support, stabilizing forces, eluting therapeutic agents, and biodegradation. Their biocompatibility and, in some cases, biodegradability makes them ideal candidates for minimally invasive surgery and the production of triggerable biomedical devices, which is a major factor driving their demand in the biomedical industry over the forecast period.
Shape-memory Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia-Pacific region held the largest share in the shape-memory polymer market in 2020 more than 42%, owing to the escalating demand for shape-memory polymers from the bio-medical, automotive, and textiles industries in Asia-Pacific countries. The bio-medical, automotive, and textiles industry in Asia-Pacific is growing at the fastest rate, with China, and India leading the way. China is the world’s largest vehicle market, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA), and the Chinese government expects the production of vehicles to reach 35 million by 2025.
According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India is one of the top 20 global markets for medical devices, with a 35.4 percent CAGR from Rs. 77,539 crore (US$ 11 billion) in 2020 to Rs. 352,450 crore (US$ 50 billion) in 2025. India’s textile and apparel market was valued at USD 108.5 billion in 2015 and is projected to rise to USD 226 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.7% between 2009 and 2023. With the increasing bio-medical, automotive, and textiles industry in Asia-Pacific, the demand for shape-memory polymers will also increase to manufacture fabrics, automotive components, and medical devices, which will then drive the shape-memory polymer market growth in Asia-Pacific during the forecast period.
Shape-memory Polymer Market Drivers
Increasing Automotive Production
During the production and assembly of cars, the automotive industry uses shape memory polymer-based actuators and automatic chokes for engines. Form memory polymer-based actuators help to boost vehicle execution, mileage, and component estimation. The substance is also used as a damping material and a protective cover for automotive assembly lines. And the production of the automobile is on an upsurge in various regions.
For instance, according to OICA, the production of passenger cars in Africa was 776,967 in 2018, which then rose to 787,287 in 2019, an increase of 1.3%. Also, governments are launching initiatives to support the growth of the automotive industry. For instance, the Indian government launched Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26 (AMP 2026) to boost the automotive industry in the country. Thus, increasing automation production will require more shape-memory polymers to manufacture car components, which will act as a driver for the shape-memory polymers market.
Flourishing Aerospace Industry
Shape memory polymer is used in the aerospace industry because of its high soundness, deformability, and lightweight. Shape memory polymer is used in the aviation industry for optical reflectors, receiving wires, brackets, transforming skins, blasts, pivots, and other parts. In the aviation industry, SMPs are widely used in deployable structures and components. In November 2020, Boeing projected that China’s airlines will buy $1.4 trillion worth of 8,600 new aircraft and $1.7 trillion worth of commercial aviation services over the next 20 years.
According to Boeing’s current business forecast, the Middle East would need 2,520 new aircraft by 2030. Also, according to Boeing India is expected to drive the demand for 2,300 aircrafts worth US$320 billion over the next 20 years. Aerospace components such as the solar array, deployable panel, reflector antenna, morphing wing, and more are often manufactured using shape-memory polymer. Considering the factors of weight, recovery force, and shock effect, shape-memory polymers such as polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, and polyurethane are expected to have great potential applications in aerospace. Hence, the increasing aerospace industry will act as a driver for the shape-memory polymer market.
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Shape-memory Polymer Market Challenges
Disadvantages Associated With Shape-memory Polymers
Shape memory polymers also face certain problems that must be solved before they can achieve their full potential. In contrast to other conventional materials, these polymers are also relatively costly to produce and machine. The fatigue properties of most shape memory polymers are low. Pure shape memory polymers, on the other hand, are brittle in their glassy state and tear easily along micro-cracks created under stress in their rubbery state. Because of these drawbacks, shape memory polymers are not safe or durable enough for a number of applications, restricting the growth of the shape memory polymer industry.
Shape-memory Polymer Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the shape-memory polymer market. Major players in the shape-memory polymer market are Nanoshel LLC, SMP Technologies, Asahi Kasei Corporation, Composite Technology Development, Cornerstone Research Group, MedShape, Shape Memory Medical, EndoShape, DowDuPont, Lubrizol, Guangzhou Manborui Materials Technology Company, and Changchun Foliaplast Bio-Tech
In March 2021, the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) has granted Shape Memory Medical permission to sell its Impede-FX embolization plugin Japan. Except for intracranial and cardiac arteries, Impede-FX is inserted percutaneously in an artery or vein to block blood flow in irregular blood vessels such as arteriovenous malformations and fistulas, aneurysms, bleeding from a traumatic vascular injury, tumors, and so on.
Asia-Pacific dominates the shape-memory polymer market. Increasing automotive production rates in Asian countries coupled with rising investment in aerospace and space exploration activities will drive the demand.
Biomedical device manufacturing in the region will also be a key reason behind the Asia Pacific market growth.
The shape-memory polymer has many advantages such as low density, lightweight, good shape recovery, and are ease of processing, owing to which it can be specifically tailored for use in a wide range of applications including biomedical, automotive, textiles, and more.
The shape-memory polymers such as polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane have been observed to be non-lethal, biocompatible, and non-mutagenic in nature, which empowers its utilization in various clinical gadgets that are embedded in a human body, further driving the market growth.
A. Shape Memory Materials Market
B. Shape Memory Alloy Market
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