Global Market Outlook on Fiber Reinforced Plastics
The developing demand drive for corrosion-free reinforcing materials in major applications, such as automotive, aerospace and defense, construction, and marine systems, would drive the FRP market growth in the future.
- Dominated by the drive from automotive and construction sectors, the global FRP market is likely to grow at a rate of 8–10 percent in the next few years
- The FRP market can be segregated based on fiber and resin type. Glass, carbon, and aramid fibers are commonly used to strengthen plastics. GFRP leads the market as the primary raw material and accounts for around 95 percent of the total volume
- Strength, flexibility, conductivity and low cost are the major properties that provide better advantage for FRP when compared to steel and aluminum
- Defense sector to drive the future growth
- Automotive ( panels, hoods etc.) and construction (bridges, pipes ) were the two largest sectors that FRP caters to
- Wind turbine is another sector that could gain popularity by using the light-weight replacement by FRP, especially in emerging countries, like Japan, India, China, etc.
- Asia to lead the regional demand
- North America and Europe constitute to over 60 percent of the global market share
- Asia is expected to drive the demand in the future, led by China, India, South Korea, etc., with the expected uptrend in transport and construction applications
- Polyester resin propels the growth as a strong replacement for heavy matal and steel parts
- Unsaturated polyester resin, epoxy resin, styrenics, thermoplastic polyester, etc., are some of the major resins employed for FRP composites
- Unsaturated polyester and epoxy resin are the major demand drivers for the major application. Bio-based resins are also being investigated to promote green FRPs
- Glass fibers are prefeered over carbon, due to cost effectivess and low conductivity
- Glass fibers constitute close to 60 percent of the global fiber market, followed by carbon fibers
- Carbon fibers are preferred more in applications, such as aerospace/aviation and wind turbines, due to design flexibility advantage
- Basalt fibers from volcanic rocks can replace glass fibers, owing to its higher tensile strength
Demand by End Use Application
Automotive applications accounted for around 40 percent of the global market share in the last two years. Properties of high levels of strength, corrosion resistance, and durability have been the major drivers of construction segment.
- Automotive applications accounted for around 40 percent of the global market share in the last two years
- Low weight and cost ratios with improved properties of stiffness, flexibility, etc., drove the market. The strict regulations of lowered green house emissions, through the use of light weight and fuel-efficient vehicles, had become the major driver in North America and Europe
- Pipelines, buildings, and bridges are some of the specific areas of the construction sector using FRP. Another major sub- sector that could increase the demand would be rehabilitation of concrete structures, due to its ease in usages and low life cycle cost
- The FRP market could strengthen the demand share from the reconstruction and rehabilitation processes in the US to compensate the hurricane damages
- FRP material is widely used in the specific end uses of PCBs, which account for majority of the demand share in this sector. Glass fiber is the most commonly used fiber, owing to its better conductivity properties
Aircraft/Aerospace and Defense
- The evident rise in air travel, increasing government regulations in reduction of CO2 emissions per flying hour, decreased levels of airframe weight, and better fuel economy are some of the major drivers propelling the demand of aerospace sector
- Carbon fiber is the most commonly used fiber in the FRP market, as it portrays better strength and elasticity modulus than other FRP fibers
- Higher properties of impact resistance, light weight, corrosion resistance, etc., are some of the drivers for FRP to be in various defense applications, such as Blackhawk helicopters, land systems, military aircraft, UAVs, naval vessels, and weapons, etc.