Smart coatings, the multi-functional materials, are set to take over various markets and market niches currently dominated by more conventional coatings materials. A new report from industry analyst firm n-tech Research, titled Multifunctional Smart Coatings and Surfaces: 2016-2025, says the total market will exceed US$1.4-billion by 2021. The company believes the coming decade will see substantial new business revenues generated by smart surfaces that exhibit multiple functionalities, notably various combinations of such functions as color shifting, antimicrobial, self-cleaning, self-healing, self-dimming glass and photovoltaics. In most cases, these surfaces will be created through multilayer coating approaches, but in some instances, embedded sensors or special surface patterning will be used to achieve the required functionality. There will, the report proposes, also be a growing number of smart coatings capable of delivering multifunctionality in a single layer. It identifies the opportunities that these trends create in the construction, automotive, aerospace, health care, textiles and consumer products sectors. It also assesses which combinations of functionalities will be the most successful and quantifies the revenues and volume shipments of smart multifunctionals to each of the end-user segments in a 10-year forecast period, with further breakouts by material type and functionality. According to the report, the market for ‘smart multifunctionals’ will be dominated by multilayer coating throughout the forecast period and such coatings will reach just over $1.0-billion in revenues by 2021. Multilayer coatings are the most straightforward approach to creating multifunctional coatings, although interference between layers can still cause problems. The report predicts the end-user sector with the biggest potential for smart multifunctional surfaces will be construction, where multifunctional combinations containing self-cleaning functionality in particular seem to have strong possibilities. The challenge in this sector is creating coatings with the long lifetimes required for building exteriors and roofs. By 2021 sales of multifunctional surfaces to the construction industry will reach $625-million. The other end user area of importance is automotive, which will reach more than $450-million in terms of consumption of smart multifunctionals by 2021. This sector is already widely using multilayer coatings for exterior surfaces, and it will be especially easy for smart multifunctionals providing self-healing capabilities to gradually take over from the mature anti-scratch technologies over a relatively short period of time. Details about the report, including a downloadable excerpt, are available at: