Demand for silver in the production of printed and flexible electronics is expected to increase 54% over the next 10 years according to the lede story in the most recent edition of the Silver Institute’s Silver News.
About 34% of the global silver supply was used in electronic devices in 2020. Analysts expect demand in this segment of the market to continue to grow. And one sector in particular – printed and flexible electronics – is forecast to rise dramatically from 48 million ounces in 2021 to 74 million ounces in 2030. Production of printed and flexible electronics is expected to consume around 615 million ounces of silver over the 10-year period.
With advances in technology, silver is being printed on wearable devices and circuit boards, in addition to labels and packaging. Silver labels are also a mainstay of warehouse logistical operations through their use in sensors and RFID devices.
Silver is indispensable for electronics applications because it is the world’s most conductive metal. Moreover, it is relatively easy to screen print, dispense by an inkjet, aerosol or roll-to-roll print (like conventional inks). It also offers corrosion resistance, bendability and stretchability without breaking, all while maintaining its electrical conductivity.”
The latest edition of Silver News also highlights some other fascinating technological advances utilizing the white metal along with some developments in the silver market. Here are some highlights.
- Silver is a vital part of fabrics used in sports performance-measuring textiles because of the metal’s high conductivity and antibacterial properties.
- A Dutch company is selling trace elements, including silver nanoparticles, to farmers to help them grow better and more hardy crops. “Nano trace elements strengthen plants, making them stronger, rendering a better structure and producing greater yield per square meter,” said Frank Combee, sales manager with Hortus Supplies International.
- Gold-Silver particles are used for catalysis and electrocatalysis, but at some point during these processes, silver leaches out which changes the particles’ ability to continue to act as an
effective catalyst. Scientists are trying to figure out why. If we could stabilize and retain more silver particles, it could lead to a finely-tuned ‘library’ or collection of gold-silver particles of different compositions, which would be available for specific applications without fear of degradation during processes.
- A research team from Italy, the United States, and Singapore has just learned something entirely new about how silver reacts with bacteria, and the scientists’ work could help us understand further how silver kills germs.
- Silver nanoclusters have been shown to halt DNA replication by binding directly to a protein that allows DNA strands to replicate. Without that replication, cells cannot grow thus giving scientists a new way to look at methods to curb deadly cancers in patients.
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