Composite Materials Market Introduction
Composite materials are made of two or more constituent materials with different chemical and physical properties. These materials are combined to produce a material with different characteristics. Composite materials produced by composite industry are used in construction, automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer industry, and other industries.
Composites are used in various industries where corrosion resistance and performance is important. For instance, premium resins such as vinyl ester or isophthalic are used to meet corrosion-resistance demand. Composites are also increasingly used across industries, there has been a growing demand for advanced and high-performance composites in various industries. Various exotic resins and fibers are used in advanced composites to meet the growing demand for new materials.
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Composite Materials Market: Notable Developments
- Teijin will supply Tenax carbon fiber and carbon fiber thermoplastic unidirectional pre-impregnated tape (tenax TPUD) as advanced composite materials to Boeing. The companies signed qualification agreement in 2016, and since then they are working on application of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics and material qualification testing for primary structure parts.
- The Port of Columbia County has completed $1.4 million industrial building as requested build-to-suit Composites Universal Group to expand its production facility. The Composites Universal Group plans to install industrial ovens to produce components and composite tools for aircraft and other industries.
- Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed new composite material for additive manufacturing. Researchers combined conventional plastic with hardwood lignin to create new composite material. The scientists found that lignin-nylon material had tensile strength similar to nylon alone. Moreover, the new composite material can heat-up more easily, offering faster flow in 3D printing. The lignin-nylon composites is patent pending and the research is ongoing to find new ways of processing it.
Some of the leading players in the composite materials market are Cytec Industries Inc., Axalta Coating Systems, LLC, Toray Industries, Inc., 3M Company, Composite Universal Group, DowDuPont, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd, DIT B.V., and others.
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Composite Materials Market Dynamics
Rapid Development of Low-Cost Carbon Fibers by Composite Manufacturers
Growing preference for carbon fiber over metals is driving the composite industry and manufacturers to focus on producing carbon fiber for use in various industries to produce lightweight and durable products. However, owing to the higher cost compared to the metals, manufacturers in the composite industry are concentrating on using new materials and technologies for production, thereby, driving carbon fibers to be cost-effective and competitive.
Automotive manufacturers are increasingly focusing on using more carbon fiber at low cost to replace traditional steel parts and produce lightweight vehicles that are more fuel efficient. Moreover, in recent years, several projects have sprung-up to convert low-cost carbon rich coal into useful low-cost carbon fibers.
Meanwhile, researchers and manufacturers are trying to implement a new way of producing carbon fiber as the high cost of raw materials, and capital and energy-intensive nature of the production process is limiting the use of carbon fiber. There are a number of active projects across regions with an aim to lower the cost of carbon fiber, for example, as the part of low cost carbon fiber project, the US Department of Energy has invested nearly %5.9 million produce low-cost and high performance carbon fiber from biomass.
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Lightweight Construction Trend Driving Composites Material Demand
Composite materials are finding large application in the construction sector providing significant advantages over conventional building materials. Offering lightweight, durability, and strength the areas of application in the construction sector include facades, cladding, doors, roofing, windows, rehabilitation, and others.
Manufacturers are producing eco-friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable construction composites used in building a robust structure. Composites materials are rapidly replacing metal parts in construction to reduce the weight of the structure and maintenance cost.
The construction sector is emerging as the most important market for composites materials and is likely to be more significant in the coming years with the increasing demand for fiber and carbon reinforced plastics. Meanwhile, the demand for composites as reinforcing materials has increased in bridge construction across various countries, owing to the rise in replacement and rehabilitation of aging infrastructure.
High Cost of Composite Materials to Hamper the Market Growth
Composite materials are expensive as compared to other raw materials used across industries. Manufacturing composite materials is challenging as it requires high-quality mould and highly specialized manufacturing process. The cost of composite materials can be divided in five areas resin, fiber, consumable materials, equipment and machines, and labor costs. Moreover, there are various indirect costs including safety consideration and quality control, together increasing the cost of composite materials.
The high cost of composite materials and the cost driving decision on using composites is resulting in innovative efforts by composite materials manufacturers to reduce the cost of materials and focusing on technical areas in composite material production other than raw material cost reduction.
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