Composites are also known as Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP). They are commonly formed from fibrous reinforcement such as glass or carbon fiber and also from matrices like metal matrix, polymer matrix, or ceramic matrix. Composites are the materials formed by the combination of two or more materials to enhance the properties of the materials for better functionality in various applications.
Composites can be categorized into three broad categories based on the type of reinforcement – fiber-reinforced, structural-reinforced, and particle-reinforced. The various materials used for producing composites comprise of polymers, carbon, ceramic, graphite, glass, and others. In the composites market, polymers hold the maximum share of 31% among the other composite materials. Polymers are being widely used to make composites because of its properties that include reflective, impact resistant, tough, brittle, translucent, elasticity and many more. Polymeric composites materials are the most commonly used materials in general construction materials, dental fillings, and various coatings among others.
Though the composites market is well established and penetrated, the market has been providing new opportunities over time mainly driven by the evolving needs of end-use applications and advancing material sciences and research.
The recent development and emergence of nano-composites are estimated to increase the adoption of composite materials especially in electronics, automotive, aerospace, and marine applications, which are to be manufactured using either of these technologies depending upon the application of those nano-composite materials in the coming years.
Composites are attracting the attention of consumer electronics giants as these are lightweight materials with uncompromised strength and durability. Apart from this, the automakers are also extensively adopting these materials for the fabrication of vehicle body and manufacturing parts to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.
Aerospace industries have been using these materials for a longer time owing to the industrial need for lightweight material with extreme durability. However, earlier these materials were used to fabricate only the aircraft body parts. With the advancement of technology in recent years, these materials are now used to develop and manufacture aircraft engines turbine as well.
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In terms of end product types, fiber-reinforced holds the largest share of 54%, and is growing at a tremendous rate because of the increasing adoption of these composites in automobiles for weight reduction.
Fiber-reinforced composites are witnessing high adoption rate in the automotive industry owing to its high strength and lightweight, contributing to the significant reduction in curb weight of the vehicles. This is further decreasing the carbon dioxide emission and increasing the fuel efficiency of the vehicles. Moreover, the higher recyclability of these materials is also assisting in its growth. European auto giants are focusing on bio-based fiber-reinforced composites for manufacturing green auto parts with lighter weight and uncompromised performance. Gradual adoption of electric vehicles is also set to drive this market as composites are extensively used in the fabrication of electric vehicle parts.
The Asia-Pacific region dominates the global composites market because of rise in construction projects, wind energy projects, and increasing usage in automotive, aerospace, and defense sectors. The Indian Composites Industry has witnessed a single-digit growth in recent years and is expected to grow at a healthy pace. The major driver for the growth of composites in India is ‘Make in India Initiative’ launched by the Government of India.
China’s stringent regulations towards the emission of greenhouse gases, and other harmful pollutants has led to a demand for advanced polymer composites in the automotive industry. The increasing demand for lightweight and high-performance materials is the major factor contributing towards the advanced polymer composites market in China. The rise in demand for composite components is imminent for renewable energy, oil & gas, mass transportation, electrical and electronics, chemicals, infrastructure, building and construction, as well as water management sectors.
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