Albany, NY — 01/12/2018 — Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is a light and strong fiber reinforced polymer containing carbon fiber. CFRP is made of two distinct elements: binding polymer and reinforcement. The binding polymer is often a thermoset resin such as epoxy to bind the carbon reinforcements. The properties of CFRP depend upon the thermoset resin and reinforcement element. CFRP has properties such as low coefficient of thermal expansion, high fatigue resistance, high tensile and compressive strength, and easy workability.
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Hence, it is being used as an alternative for conventional materials such as steel, iron, and alloys of other metals in automotive manufacturing. CRFP is widely used in premium and luxury cars due to high strength and light weight. Until recently, usage of CFRP had been limited due to high cost. However, increasing emphasis to achieve fuel economy and reduce vehicular emission as laid down by CAFÉ standards has induced OEMs and auto manufacturers to utilize CFRP to build body panels for high-end cars. A vehicle's weight can be reduced by 100 kg to 150 kg by substituting metals with carbon composite materials in load bearing structural components.
Development of the wind power market, deeper oil & gas exploration, rapid urbanization and industrialization, and developing infrastructure in Asia are the major drivers of the global carbon fiber reinforced plastics market. The carbon fiber reinforced plastics market is expected to be driven by the growth in the automotive and aerospace industries. Asia Pacific and GCC Countries are expected to be potential markets for carbon fiber reinforced plastics due to expanding infrastructure.
Based on type, the global carbon fiber reinforced plastics market can be segmented into two categories: thermosetting and thermoplastic. In terms of product type, the market can be categorized into PAN-based, pitch-based, and rayon-based. PAN refers to polyacrylonitrile, while pitch is a viscoelastic material produced through distillation. Demand for PAN-based carbon fiber reinforced plastic is projected to be high due to its high tensile strength. However, the manufacturing process is complicated and expensive. Nevertheless, properties such as high strength, tensile strength, and low density are likely to offset these restraints. These factors are anticipated to boost the growth of the market during the forecast period.
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In terms of region, North America is a major market for CFRP due to presence of large aircraft manufacturing enterprises and defense companies and a shift toward usage of advanced lightweight materials in automotive manufacturing. Rising demand for CFRP in the rapidly growing aviation and automotive sectors in emerging countries such as China and India is expected to propel the market in Asia Pacific.
Apart from the automotive industry, CFRP is widely used in the aerospace, wind, power, and oil & gas industries. However, high cost, longer processing times, and slow adoption of CFRP have limited its usage in mass market applications. Sports goods is an ideal market for CFRP for early penetration as it is already used in fishing rods, golf shafts, and tennis rackets, and being increasingly utilized in softball bats, hockey sticks, and bicycles. The aerospace industry has been the largest consumer of CFRP and other advanced materials.
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