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New Wave of Start-ups Tackling Challenges in Advanced Structural Ceramics

Lux Research

Young companies developing ceramic matrix composites, for uses from lightweighting to armor, challenge the traditional dominance of large corporations, Lux Research says

BOSTON, MA – June 4, 2015 – Advanced structural ceramics have the potential to make aircraft engines lighter, soldiers' body armor safer, and machine tools more durable. However, they've traditionally been dominated by a few large corporations and seen little adoption due to high costs and processing challenges. Now, innovative start-ups have begun to shake up this market, according to Lux Research.

“Structural ceramics development has been slow and fraught with failure. Even start-ups with strong technology, and solid business plans and execution are likely to spend many years in development,” said Anthony Schiavo, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report titled, “Assessing Challenges, Opportunities, and Innovators in Advanced Structural Ceramics.”

“Consequently, smart players need to rigorously evaluate even the most promising innovators before making a move,” he added.

Lux Research analysts employed the Lux Innovation Grid to identify the most attractive partnership candidates among structural ceramics start-ups. Among their findings:

  • Diamorph is leading start-up. On the Lux Innovation Grid, Diamorph is the sole start-up in the “Dominant” category. The company uses advanced sintering to produce materials that combine the weldability of metals with the hardness of structural ceramics, and has strong partnerships with Saab, Moventas and Olosfors.

  • CMCs have best disruptive potential. Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) have the highest potential to displace current structural materials in new use cases. In this segment, Free Form Fibers and Advanced Ceramic Fibers are small pre-revenue start-ups in the “High-potential” quadrant.

  • Start-ups with novel processing methods ready to flourish. Covaron Advanced Materials and Ceralink are rated “High-potential” on the Lux Innovation Grid because they attack key processing challenges in structural ceramics, addressing issues such as cost, processing time, and shaping and forming.

The report, titled “Assessing Challenges, Opportunities, and Innovators in Advanced Structural Ceramics,” is part of the Lux Research Advanced Materials Intelligence service.