Polymers that exhibit transitions such as change in shape or size when an electric field is applied are known as electroactive polymers. Electroactive polymers (EAP) are used in electronic applications, which is expected to drive the market. As compared to inorganic materials, electroactive polymers possess features such as inexpensive, lightweight, and easy manufacturing which along with technological advancements would enhance market share during the forecast period. Electroactive polymers have extensive applications which include actuators, capacitors, sensors, electrostatic plastics (paintable), robotics (artificial muscle development), among the others. Use of electroactive polymers in robotics for muscle development is predicted to be more cost-effective than using semiconductor and metal materials. Thus, growing use of robotics would affect the demand of electroactive polymers in near future. Electroactive polymers market growth is primarily increasing due to its wide use in areas such as medical devices, electrostatic discharge/electromagnetic interference, high-strain sensors, and biomimetic.
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The key aspects for segmenting the market include parameters such as by application, and by type. According to the type of electroactive polymers, classification can be done as ionic EAPs or electric EAPs. Further the classification of Electric EAPs can be done as Liquid Crystal Elastomers, Dielectric Elastomers, Ferroelectric, among others. The Ionic type can be categorized as conductive polymers and ionic polymer-metal composites. The application segment can be broadly categorized as batteries, actuators, sensors, solar cells, capacitors, fabrics and textiles which have further elaborative sub-segments.
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North America held an important market share in 2011 and is expected to grow profitably till 2019, Europe contributes by being the second largest player of the market. 3M, Artificial Muscle Inc., Konarka Technologies Inc., Earnex Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, among the others are identified as key players of the market.