The global carbon fiber prepreg industry is slated to record rapid growth from rising demand for greater durability, fuel efficiency, and low-weight components from the aerospace and automotive sectors. Carbon fiber prepreg is a reinforced fabric made from pre-impregnated and cured polymer matrix.
The material offers a high stiffness to weight ratio and superior resistance against chemicals and fatigue. Owing to these advantages, prepreg carbon fibers find a broad range of applications across a plethora of industrial avenues.
The incorporation of carbon fiber prepreg in automobiles drastically reduces the overall vehicle weight without compromising on strength. This leads to higher fuel efficiency and performance improvement in vehicles. Stringent carbon emission norms and growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles are encouraging motor vehicle manufacturers to incorporate more of these carbon materials in their product portfolios.
Moreover, with growing automotive production, the demand for carbon fiber prepreg is likely to go up to a large extent. As per the International Organization for Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, nearly 77.62 million commercial vehicles and cars were produced in 2020.
According to the latest industry report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the global carbon fiber prepreg market size is anticipated to grow considerably by 2027.
Carbon fiber prepreg materials are seeing a very promising application scope in the aerospace industry. Various aircraft manufacturers are increasingly refurbishing aircraft with these reinforced carbon fibers in a view to minimize aircrafts’ weight, enhance gasoline mileage, and provide affordable & safe air transportation services to the customers.
Carbon fiber prepreg also boasts of many other applications, including sporting goods, racing vehicles, pressure vessels, and commercial products. There has been an increasing demand for light-weight high-strength materials, particularly in racing vehicles, including bikes and cars, to make them lighter and hence, amplify their velocity and stability on the racetracks. Meanwhile, various sporting goods manufacturers are emphasizing on utilizing soft carbon fabrics to provide comfort to their customers, opening up additional avenues of business growth.
Carbon fiber prepreg industry share from wind power plants is expected to witness substantial momentum in the forthcoming years. This is owing to the growing utilization of pre-impregnated carbon fibers in wind blades. These materials offer high tensile and compressive strength due to which they are broadly adopted for the latest generations of wind turbines.
In addition, the material’s use provides a number of cost and performance benefits to the wind industry. According to Sandia National Laboratories, wind blades made from carbon fibers weigh 25% less than the ones made from fiberglass materials. This means that the carbon fiber wind turbine blades can be much longer than the ones made out of fiberglass. As a result, the wind turbines can effectively harness more energy across locations that were previously deemed as low wind areas.
Electricity generation through renewable sources is surging rapidly in developed countries. As per the U.S. Department of Energy, wind power is the second-largest source of electricity generation in the country, which accounted for a total installed capacity of 105.6 GW in 2019. With carbon fiber wind turbine blades pegged to become industry standard, the adoption of carbon fiber prepreg materials is expected to witness a significant jump.
The North American carbon fiber prepreg industry is slated to hold a considerable share of the global market, particularly owing to growing demand from the automotive and aerospace industries. Leading OEMs in the country are focusing on employing lightweight materials in automobiles to enhance fuel efficiency and comply with stringent vehicles emission norms set by the government. Growing penetration of electric vehicles and rising preference for air travel are some of the more notable factors that would foster business growth in the country.
Park Aerospace Corp (previously Park Electrochemical Corporation), Hexcel Corporation, Toray Industries, Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd., Gurit Holdings AG, Axiom Materials, SGL Group, and Solvay SA are some prominent companies operating in global carbon fiber prepreg industry. These pre-impregnated carbon fiber manufacturers are eyeing focusing on leveraging novel technologies to produce highly efficient materials and cater to the larger consumer base.
Soaring adoption of lightweight, high-strength materials in numerous industries, to cater to the rising demand for efficiency, would outline the industry outlook. Additionally increasing environmental regulations to curb emission is also forecast to complement global carbon fiber prepreg industry trends.