Boston, Mass. – The thermal management materials market for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and power electronics is expected to more than double from $1.8 billion in 2013 to $4.8 billion in 2020, according to Lux Research. This will be driven by manufacturers looking for more cost-effective ways to improve heat dissipation, increasing market share for thermally conductive polymers from 16 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2020, according to a Lux Research report.
Thermal challenges have become a big area of discussion, particularly in the LED lighting industry, in terms of how to cool lighting fixtures cost effectively and without bulky solutions. This means thermal management manufacturers need to develop smaller and less costly solutions.
"Miniaturization and performance are creating a need for improved thermal management, driving significant market growth and technology shifts," said Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research analyst, in a statement. Madakasira also is the lead author of Lux's report, Cooling Heats Up: Sizing the Opportunity for Conductive Polymers in Thermal Management.
As device manufacturers look for more cost-effective solutions to dissipate heat, the conductive polymer market for LEDs and power electronics is expected to reach $1.9 billion in 2020. "Thermally conductive polymers offer a cost-effective and efficient alternative to incumbents like aluminum, making them an increasing critical material in this market," Madakasira further stated.
A key finding indicates that LED lighting will be the primary driver of thermal management solutions. This market is expected to more than double to $3.8 billion in 2020, led by growth in the residential and commercial markets, as well as automotive LED lighting, which is forecast to reach $730 million in 2020.
Another big driver for thermal interface materials is smartphones and tablets. The smartphone and tablet thermal materials market is projected to more than triple to $300+ million in 2020, according to Lux Research. The report also finds that due to weight and cost considerations in these markets, they will likely rely on special thermal interface materials (TIMs) instead of secondary heat sinks.
Lux Research also projects the thermal materials market for solar and electric vehicles will grow the fastest, but they will use fewer polymers due to performance requirements. This is expected to limit the use of polymers in these applications to a few million dollars, said Lux. The thermal materials market for solar inverters and power modules in hybrid and electric vehicles is forecast to reach $170 million in 2020.