Growth Opportunities Abound for Metal Matrix Composites
Interest remains keen in metal matrix composites (MMCs) due to their desirable physical properties.
Interest remains keen in metal matrix composites (MMCs) due to their desirable physical properties, such as greater stiffness, better wear resistance, lower density, and other advantages, compared to standard materials. Despite these advantages, however, the market still remains modest or undeveloped compared with its potential, according to a recent report from BCC Research. New product development, marketing and technical servicing will be keys to MMC adoption.
MMCs are a class of advanced composite materials that combine the properties of high strength and high stiffness, low weight, corrosion resistance, and in some cases special electrical properties. This combination of properties makes advanced composites very attractive for aerospace structural parts and increasingly in other applications. The most commonly used MMCs are aluminum, magnesium, copper/titanium alloys as a matrix with alumina (Al2O3) and silicon carbide (SiC) as reinforcements.
The global metal matrix composites market should reach $431.1 million by 2020, from $326.9 million in 2015, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7%. The largest application market, ground transportation, should reach $203.2 million by 2020, from $156.9 million in 2015, at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2015 to 2020. The aerospace research and defense systems market should reach $52.5 million by 2020, from $37.6 million in 2015, at a five-year CAGR of 6.9%, the highest rate along with the Others segment. The aerospace and defense systems, nuclear energy and aircraft industry MMC markets should experience the strongest growth. Ground transportation also is expected to grow at a substantial rate. Geographically, the most rapid growth in MMC consumption will occur in China and other East Asian nations as a sizeable share of many key end-use market industries migrate to China and elsewhere.
Progress in reducing the cost of manufacturing MMC components would aid their adoption in cost-sensitive industries such as transportation. Both private sector and public initiatives are seeking to promote the use of MMCs in non-transportation and non-aerospace applications. Some of the technological and economic barriers are being overcome, although not at the pace most industry participants would prefer. High costs of production, availability, and informational and technical issues remain barriers to market expansion.
“The MMC business is a relatively small industry, at only $306.5 million in global revenues in 2014, and consisting of fewer than 200 companies competing at varying levels, most of which are specialized,” said Karen Shah, analyst. “The major competitive factors affecting this business include product design and quality, performance characteristics, pricing and product availability. Many suppliers compete in the same market segments, and corporate recognition (or reputation) is gained through advertising and promotion, and has become an important factor.”
For more information, visit www.bccresearch.com.