Nanochemicals are developed by using nanotechnology on traditional chemical building blocks like ethane, propane, and butane. These chemicals offer better self-catalysis and anti-corrosion properties in comparison to other traditional chemicals. Moreover, the usage of nanochemicals reduces the time of chemical reactions.
These chemicals find wide applications in armor design, chemical warfare, bicycle manufacturing, and military weapons. Moreover, increasing usage of these chemicals in end-use industries like healthcare, automotive, energy storage, and agriculture will boost their production in the coming years. The industries majorly use carbon nanotubes to produce strong materials for bicycles and smart materials for other sectors. Smart materials like piezoelectric materials, ferrofluids, shape memory materials, and self-healing materials are specifically designed so that their characteristics can be altered with the usage of external stimulus like temperature, stress, and pH.
The widening application base of nanochemicals has led to the development of specialized nanochemical materials that are designed to perform specific tasks or functions. These chemicals are widely used in machine tools (tungsten and high-carbon steel), dental filling (dental amalgam), and electronic equipment (high-purity silicon and germanium). Owing to the broadening application base, huge investments are being made in the research and development (R&D) of nanotechnology to scientifically assess the benefits and risks of nanochemicals. The rising frequency of R&D activities assist in comprehending the effects of nanotechnology on environment and human health.
Key players, such as The Dow Chemical Company, Huntsman Corporation, Akzo Nobel, Rhodia S.A., Graphene NanoChem Plc, ELANTAS Beck India Limited, E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company, Advanced Nano Products Inc., Bayer CropScience AG, Nano Chemical Systems, Sea Spray Aerosol Inc., and BASF SE, are involved in R&D activities to produce various types of nanochemicals like ceramic, polymer, and metallic. Moreover, over the years, the usage of these chemicals as epoxy containing carbon nanotubes has increased tremendously, as these nanotubes are required in the production of windmill blades.
Citing such improvements, market research organization P&S Intelligence says that the nanochemicals market is poised for substantial growth in the years to come. As the term suggests, nanochemicals are made with nanoparticles that clean and catalyze themselves and are resistant to corrosion. Moreover, the properties of such chemicals, including how they react to temperature, pressure, and moisture, can be changed as per requirement. In the semiconductor & electronics industry, nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used widely.
This is why nanochemicals are also finding rising application in specialty chemicals, especially those that are consumed on their own or used to make the end products used in the automotive, electronics, and cosmetics industries. Some of the most common materials containing nanochemicals are advanced polymers, additives, sealants, adhesives, and special-purpose pigments, paints, and coatings. For instance, the high-purity germanium and silicon used to manufacture electronic equipment, high-tungsten and -carbon steel used to make machine tools, and fillings used in dentistry are all being produced with nanochemicals.
Specialty chemicals have a wide application base, including agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, building and construction, food and beverages, coatings, household products, transportation, and pulp and paper manufacturing. With the continuous rise in the population, the demand for all such products and transportation services is increasing, which is leading to the surging demand for nanochemicals for the production of the specialty chemicals used in these industries. This is why chemical manufacturers and even government organizations are investing heavily for coming up with better nanochemicals.
Numerous types of nanochemicals are used for the abovementioned purposes, such as ceramic, metallic, and polymer nanochemicals. Among these, metallic nanochemicals are the most-popular among end users, as these materials have a smaller size, which allows for more contact points. This property of metallic nanochemicals proves useful during catalysis and in applications that mandate higher binding levels. Moreover, numerous functional groups can be added to these chemicals at the molecular level, which would allow them to bind with antibodies, drugs, and ligands. Thus, metallic nanochemicals are finding widespread usage in the biotechnology sector.
In the coming years, the usage of nanochemicals of all types is set to increase the fastest for the manufacturing of cosmetics. Such chemicals offer a range of properties to cleansers, sunscreens, creams and lotions, complexion treatment products, specialized makeup products, and shampoos, such as greater coverage and clarity and cleansing, personalization, absorption, anti-microbial, and antioxidant functionalities. Some of the most common nanochemicals used in cosmetics are zinc oxide, titanium oxide, and silver. With the increasing demand for cosmetics, their manufacturers are investing in research and development (R&D) to unearth new uses of nanochemicals in them.
In the past, North America was the largest nanochemicals market, as any new technology is mostly adopted here; then it reaches other parts of the world. Nanochemical consumption in the continent is driven by the increase in the demand for pigments and inks. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is projected to witness the fastest-rising consumption of nanochemicals because of the rapid shift of industrialists to nanochemicals from conventional materials. Furthermore, the growth in the electronics, construction, personal care, pharmaceuticals, and rubber industries will result in the rising usage of nanochemicals in the region.
According to P&S Intelligence, North America emerged as the leader in the nanochemicals market in the recent past, owing to the growth in the pigment and printing ink sector. Whereas, robust industrial developments and rapid shift of companies toward nanochemicals from conventional chemicals will fuel the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market at a considerable rate, in the coming years. The high-volume consumption of such chemicals in the rubber, electronics, and construction sectors in developing countries like India and China will boost the sales of nanochemicals in the foreseeable future.
Thus, the self-catalysis and anti-corrosion features of nanochemicals will amplify the production and usage of such chemicals in the coming years.