Here come previously impossible devices and structures. The new IDTechEx report, “Smart Material Opportunities in Structural Electronics 2020-2030” analyses and forecasts a remarkable $200 billion materials opportunity by making dumb structures smart. Save weight, space and cost. Eliminate maintenance. Ten times the life. Enable bionic man and woman. Welcome huge drones with solar airframes aloft for five years, beaming the internet to everyone. Cars will soon have 10% of the parts as so many components become load-bearing multifunctional composites. Solar bodywork for latest cars, later doubling as energy storage too, means they never plug in. In fact, the Executive Summary and Conclusions scopes better appliances, wearables and vehicles lasting generations. Think one-piece flexible phones with no case, even smart roads. Six countries are pleased with their experimental solar roads and that is just a start. Everywhere smart materials, not components-in-a-box.
The report introduces the enablers of all this, such as additive metal and dielectric patterning, some stretchable, and the new organic, inorganic and composite materials merged. Here we have the e-window performing three functions, five later, and the potential for a composite ocean wave blanket acting as a power station, all facilitated by new materials and processing with huge sales potential.
Many infograms pull together market readiness of composites and how improved metal patterning can create electricity and bend light. See separate forecasts for vehicles, building and ground-integrated photovoltaics, for in-mold electronics, flexible AMOLEDs and other structural electronics/ electrics/ optronics as multifunctional material. Even elements of this are forecasted including embedded RFID, solar cars, building integrated photovoltaics, smart glass. Appraise technology roadmaps for flexible phones as they integrate flexible batteries.
The Introduction reveals the evolution of the needs and practices with phones, wearables, vehicles, structures and more. Which of the 12 energy harvesting technologies lend themselves to being incorporated in the new monolithic smart structures? Tesla sunroof with electric tinting and lighting functions in one glass, human body area networks, energy positive solar boats and self-healing plastics are among the host of examples explained.
Chapter 3 Vehicle Integrated Photovoltaics VIPV introduces such things as energy positive solar cars, autonomous solar flying wings that replace trucks and those upper atmosphere solar drones. Infograms show how many disciplines leverage to deliver many benefits here. Why the importance of single crystal silicon bodywork but potential of GaAs film and thin film, 3 junction InGaP, GaAs, InGaAs. Which companies, why, by when?
Chapter 4 pulls together Smart Roads, Bridges, Buildings, emphasising new materials and potential. Here is the largest sector BIPV including solar tiles and windows. What materials and benefits? Scope for heat and piezoelectric harvesting roads? Why did solar roads and environs fail in Germany and France, but look good in the UK, Netherlands, Japan, China and Hungary? What new materials? What next?
Chapter 5 goes deeper with Materials and Manufacturing: Large Structural Electrics. Here is structural battery and supercapacitor technology from graphene and CNT, glass and carbon fiber to vanadium and ruthenium boosting pseudocapacitance. Learn new reinforcement with multifunctional resins. Understand progress of electrically multifunctional fibers, smart glass electrically changing color, tint, display, darkness, photovoltaic action, even greenhouses optimising both electricity creation and plant growth with new dyes. Throughout there are many examples of research progress and deployment.