Fiber reinforced composites finds its application in various fields of engineering such as automotive, aerospace, and defense industries. Various advancements in technology, have led to development of lightweight composites with high tensile strength.
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Carbon filaments produced from polymers such as polyacrylonitrile (PAN), rayon, and petroleum pitch, are the essential elements used in the manufacturing of CFRP. The carbon fiber is woven into resin, mostly epoxy resin, to culminate in the formation of a material exhibiting extremely high strength, rigidity, low density, excellent damping properties, and high resistance to thermal expansion. CFRP also exhibits enhanced electrical and thermal conductivity as compared to glass fiber reinforced plastics (GRP). These key attributes of CFRP allow for its incorporation in a wide range of applications such as aerospace & defense, wind energy, automotive, sports equipment, construction equipment, pipe & tanks, marine, electrical, and electronics. Methods such as molding, vacuum bagging, compression bolding, and filament winding are used in the manufacturing of CFRP. Carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced polymers are recognized as clean energy technologies by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy (EERE). Major contributors of the CFRP market share include the aerospace, defense, wind energy, and sports equipment industries.
Prevalent Scenario in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics Market
Carbon fiber reinforced plastics are extensively used in the aerospace industry for manufacturing aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus are enormously investing in research and development activities as means of manufacturing aircraft capable of withstanding high environmental stresses. These aerospace applications are subject to high standards, stringent compliances, and incur high licensing & inspection costs. Stringent regulations on vehicle emissions have compelled the key automotive manufacturers such as Volkswagen, BMW, Ferrari, and Audi to lay more emphasize on reducing the weight of automobiles. In order to curb the weight of vehicles, CFRP is being widely used as a polymer composite, resulting in improved fuel-efficiency of vehicles. Also, stringent regulations such as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards in the U.S. and carbon emission standards in Europe have led to an increasing demand for lightweight composites, in turn, driving growth of the CFRP market. Growing awareness about renewable energy among the populace, has increased the installation of wind farms, in turn, fueling the demand for CFRP products. The thermosetting CFRP products consist of cross-linked polymers, which do not melt at high temperatures, during the curing procedure. This property increases the significance of thermosetting CFRP, among others and is used in variety of applications, thus contributing a major market share in the CFRP market. The cost of manufacturing of CFRP products is higher than that of glass and steel polymers, thus resulting in higher selling price of these products. Research and development of the CFRP products and its incorporation into a wide range of applications, also incurs high costs. The manufacturing of CFRP products is highly dependent on the supply of large volumes of raw materials, which leads to limited production capacities. North America market contributes to a larger market share as compared to Europe, due to increasing research and development in aerospace and defense industries in the region. However, the presence of large number of major automobile manufacturers in Europe, positions it as a high growth region in the global CFRP market.
The global carbon fiber reinforced plastics market is highly fragmented due to the presence of many established and emerging players in the CFRP market. Major players involved in the market include Toray Industries Inc. (Japan), Teijin Limited (Japan), Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. (Japan), SGL-Group (Germany), Formosa Plastics Corporation (Taiwan), and Hexcel Corporation (U.S.).
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