Technology Advances to Drive Modest Gains in Advanced Carbon Materials Market
Significant advances have been made in recent years in synthesizing novelty materials and designing complex shapes to serve stringent specifications imposed by high-end commercial applications like those for the aerospace and defense industry. This development will stimulate modest growth in the advanced structural carbon products market, according to a recent report by BCC Research.
The structural carbon materials industry reportedly serves mature markets such as defense and aerospace, with a variety of products satisfying the requirements of well-established applications. However, continuous technical innovations and efforts to make structural carbon technologies available for new applications at affordable prices are leading to the development of new markets.
The U.S. market for advanced structural carbon materials should total over $2.4 billion and $3.3 billion in 2015 and 2020, respectively, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3%. The carbon foam segment is expected to grow the fastest (five-year CAGR of 9%), followed by carbon-carbon composites (6.3%), structural graphite (4.6%) and carbon fiber (4.4%).
The aerospace and defense segment is the largest U.S. market for structural carbon materials, chiefly carbon fibers and carbon-carbon composites. Industrial applications such as corrosion-resistant chemical process equipment and refractories comprise the second-largest market segment. Unlike aerospace and defense, structural graphite is the dominant structural carbon material in the industrial segment. Energy applications are the third-largest market for structural carbon materials. The energy market consists mainly of carbon fiber for wind turbine blades and graphite for use in fuel cells, nuclear power plants and hydrogen storage media.
In 2014, carbon fibers captured about 42% of the U.S. structural carbons market. These fibers include high-end materials used in advanced military and civilian aircraft, rocket launch vehicles, and spacecraft. Carbon fibers were followed by carbon-carbon composites, with 39.1% of the market, and structural graphite, with an 18.3% market share. Carbon foams ranked a distant fourth, with less than 1% of the market.
“Over the next half-decade, significant change will take place in global structural carbon products and applications,” said Andrew McWilliams, analyst. “Technological advances in improving structure-property relationships of advanced carbon materials and breakthroughs in the manufacturing processes, resulting in lower costs, will lead to novel applications.”
For more information, visit www.bccresearch.com.