Photochromism is the phenomenon in which reversible change of color takes place upon exposure to light. Photochromic pigments absorb energy and change color in the presence of ultraviolet light. Photochromic pigments are suitable to be printed on various kinds of materials. Photochromic pigments have various features such as color changing ability, easy solubility in water, excellent water compatibility, excellent abrasion or adhesion properties, high brilliance, gassing stability, and high hiding power and narrow particle size distribution, and long shelf-life. Photochromic pigments find applications in paints; suitable for usage in surface coating products such as PMMA paint, ABS spray paint, PVC paint, and water-based spray paint, inks; suitable to be printed on various kinds of materials, such as fabrics, paper, synthetic membrane, and glass, and plastic products; plastic injection and extrusion using high color density PE, and industrial applications such as textile and printing. They are specifically designed for usage in non-aqueous-based ink systems, and most importantly sunglasses and lenses.
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In terms of type, the photochromic pigments can be segmented into reversible and irreversible. In reversible photochromic pigments, color changes at a defined light intensity, and color recovery takes place when intensity decreases. Color change can be induced by UV, visible, and infrared light. Reversible photochromic pigments find applications in camouflage, interactive materials that change color with light intensity. Irreversible photochromic pigments permanently change color above a given light intensity, and this color change can be induced by ultraviolet (UV), visible, and infra-red (IR) light. Reversible photochromic pigments find applications in optical marking of industrial pieces and creation of customizable coatings.
A major factor that drives of the photochromic market is the photochromic lens. This is due to the increasing awareness among people about the usage of the lens, reduced cost, and increasing prevalence of eye diseases. Furthermore, increasing inclination toward special eye care for children to avoid damage caused by ultraviolet rays is likely to be another factor driving the market. Expansion of the paints and coatings industry is a key factor propelling the photochromic pigments market. Demand for paints is estimated to rise from primarily two sectors: industrial and decorative. Demand for decorative paints in developing nations is generally high since these countries provide substantial scope for housing construction and infrastructural development. Countries such as India and China, and sub-regions such as GCC are major consumers of paints. Hence, the photochromic pigments market is likely to expand in these regions.
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A major restraining factor of the photochromic pigment market is the degradation of the pigments due to over exposure to UV, and some colors are likely to degrade faster than others. Furthermore, discomfort and some other minute drawbacks associated with the usage of lenses and economic slowdown are anticipated to restrain the photochromic pigments market. Additionally, availability of alternatives such as dedicated sun wears due to advanced technology is restraining the photochromic pigments market.
In terms of geography, the global photochromic pigments market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. The global market is dominated by North America due to technological advancements and high level of recognition among the people in the region. It is followed by Europe. The Asia Pacific market is projected to expand at a high growth rate during the forecast period. Majorly populated countries such as China and India are anticipated to expand rapidly in the near future. Rising awareness in emerging countries is a key factor boosting the photochromic pigment market.
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