Posted in | News

Research Report on Nanotechnology Applications in Multiple Sectors

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Key Products and Players, Global Markets and Applications for Nanotechnology in Personal Care, Cosmetics, Household Care, Packaging and Leisure Wear + Equipment" report to their offering.

The market sectors covered in this report fall broadly under the category of consumer goods. The consumer goods sector includes a wide range of products from clothing and footwear to household and personal products. The global market for nanotechnology in the above markets was worth approximately UK1435 million in 2009, and is expected to rise to UK2740 million by 2015.

Nanotechnology is attractive to consumer goods companies because of the potential it offers to add a novel design or function to a brand. There are numerous products on the consumer goods market already incorporating nanomaterials. In sporting goods, nanomaterials are a component of tennis balls, tennis rackets, golf balls and ski wax. Nanocoatings have been applied to eyewear for increased comfort and durability and to clothing and footwear to repel stains and kill bacteria. Companies such as Unilever, Henkel and Procter and Gamble are actively developing nanotechnologies for food processing, nanocoatings for textiles and nano-inspired cleaning solutions.

For the purposes of this report, the market sub-sectors covered are:

  • Personal care
  • Household care
  • Leisure equipment
  • Brand & Product Security
  • Packaging

Brand & product security

Counterfeiting of branded products is estimated to cost companies $600 billion worldwide, and affects a whole plethora of industries. The latest developments in brand security and packaging are designed to provide smart protection, by which new applications for in-print or coating taggants (covert chemical markers) provide not only yes/no authentication of valid products, but also tools to assist companies and organisations in effectively managing product or item integrity in a complex environment.

Nanoscale taggants containing unique magnetic fingerprints can be used in a wide range of articles, from pharmaceutical packaging and luxury goods (such as watches and handbags) to automotive and aviation spare parts. It is hoped that such fingerprints will stem the tide of counterfeit goods by enabling genuine merchandise to be uniquely identified. A number of nano-based products offering product security have already been introduced into the sector, including intelligent inks and nanoparticle coatings.

Personal care

There is a wide variety of personal care products on the market at present claiming to contain nanomaterials. The European Commission estimates that nanomaterials are now used in around 5% of the cosmetic products - including sunscreen, lipsticks and anti-ageing creams - that are already on the market. There are more than 2500 personal care products that contain either nano-titanium dioxide or nano zinc oxide including moisturizers, eye liners, lip sticks, make-up foundations, soaps, sunscreens, mascara, nail polish.

Household care

There are a number of products on the market for household care and protection. Nanoscale repellent coatings can be applied to sanitary surfaces in bathrooms, toilets, kitchens or window panes, where frequent contact with water, oil and dirt can quickly soil surfaces. These treatments are extremely popular in German and Asian markets.

Many different household products use nanotechnology to give them unique properties. Bayer Chemicals has developed nanotechnologies for packaging fragrances in an ultra-thin nanofilm to form microcapsules. When leather and textiles are sprayed with these microcapsules and subjected to pressure, a fragrance is then released.


As the demands of the packaging industry evolve, nanotechnology has the potential for providing new materials and applications that respond to changing manufacturer and consumer trends. Future packaging trends, based on a wide range of factors are likely to include material reduction, bio-based material, differentiation and plastic with improved barrier properties. Safety features will include freshness indicators and antimicrobial/aroma release. Interactivity will be another feature.

Nanocomposites have had the greatest impact, with composites of polymers with nanometre-scale reinforcements of various forms offering enhanced mechanical properties, allowing packaging to be fabricated with less weight and bulk than current designs and possibly at lower cost. Interpenetrating network materials of various compositions, with domain sizes on the nanometre scale, offer unprecedented properties for applications requiring high barrier function or UV protection. Products are currently on the market from a number of companies including Honeywell, Bayer and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical.

Leisure wear & equipment

The sports & leisure sector has produced a number of products utilising nanomaterials. However, at present it is unclear the extent to which the buzzword nano has been supported by serious technology. Products span from skiing wax to ultra light bicycles, notably used in the Tour de France. A number of companies are selling tennis rackets reinforced with nanofillers. Other sporting goods which make use of nanomaterial reinforcement include baseball bats, badminton rackets and hockey sticks.

Tennis balls and golf balls that claim to have nanotechnologically improved properties are also currently available. The strategy for improving tennis balls is to decrease gas permeability, maintain pressure for longer, and therefore increase the life-span of the balls (normal tennis balls usually do not last a three set tennis match). Claims that nano-enhanced golf balls fly straighter and roll better due to a hydrophobic surface are a little more doubtful.

Nanomaterials are also finding their way into sportswear. A well known disadvantage of fabrics is their tendency to get easily stained and fabrics made of cotton tend to soak up liquids. This can be overcome by increasing the water repellency with fluorinated carbon chains, making the cloth more hydrophobic; these coatings, often commercialized by small companies, have found their way into the products of brand owners such as Levis and Nike.

More recent approaches are based on the use of nanoparticles in fabric coatings. Nanoparticles such as SiO2 increase the permanence of the textile finish, and have been applied to various products already on the market. The most promising application is in water, stain and oil repellent textiles. Nanoparticles have also been used to provide the controlled release of fragrances, biocides and anti-fungals on textiles. The technology is mostly based on classical fluorinated carbon at present. Nanoscale silver coated fabrics are also on the market for preventing foot odour through killing bacteria.

The domain of functional textiles has grown significantly, and one notable area is the embedding of electronics. Known as wearable electronics, these find applications in sports, medicine and the military, incorporating nanotubes as conductive materials and sensors.

This new 100-page+ report includes:

  • Global revenues for Nanotechnology in Personal Care, Cosmetics, Household Care, Packaging and Leisure Wear & Equipment, 2008-2015
  • Over 150 company profiles segmented by market sector
  • Products and applications
  • Current standards and regulations


Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback