The global fiber-reinforced composites market size was worth USD 92,621 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 155,158 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Fiber-reinforced composites (FRCs) are man-made materials that consist of a complicated combination of fiber and resin. FRCs are composed of reinforcing fiber, matrix, and an interphase area. The reinforcement fiber increases the matrix's strength and improves the composites' quality while reducing their weight. Glass, carbon, and aramid make up most of the reinforcement fibers. The matrix attaches the fiber reinforcement, gives the composite component its shape, and dictates its surface quality. A composite matrix can be composed of polymers, ceramics, metals, or carbon. The reinforcement fiber is responsible for providing the matrix with strength, while the matrix protects the fiber from external wear and tear.
Natural and synthetic fibers are the two types of reinforcement fibers for FRCs. Coir, palm, hemp, and luffa are natural fibers, while carbon, glass, and aramid are manufactured fibers. Synthetic fiber is more rigid, whereas natural fibers are inexpensive and biodegradable, making them environmentally benign. Attempts are being made to create a hybrid material by combining two types of fibers and merging them with a matrix material. For lightweight manufacturing components in the automotive and aerospace industries, FRCs have replaced steel and aluminum. They are also utilized in the construction, sporting goods, and electronics industries.
The global fiber-reinforced composites market is currently being driven by several factors, including rising demand from the aerospace segment, the employment of composites in the production of lightweight automotive components, and the enlargement of wind turbine blades to generate more energy in onshore and offshore wind power plants. However, carbon fiber and glass fiber composites are more expensive than conventional materials such as steel or wool. The high cost is attributable to the high cost of fiber manufacturing and the expense of creating composites with advanced machinery. Due to its incredible strength and lightweight, fiber-reinforced composites are utilized in sporting goods, construction, aircraft, automotive, and wind energy industries.
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There is an incrementing requirement for lightweight materials that reduce fuel consumption, increase range, and lower CO2 emissions in the automotive and aerospace industries. Emission control has become the driving force behind developing sophisticated composites for car body parts and aviation structural components. Therefore, the automotive and aerospace sectors have a growing demand for fiber-reinforced composites. In addition, the aerospace and automotive industries are undergoing a period of transformation involving introducing electric vehicles and air taxis to the market. This mobility transition is favorable to the creation of new composite materials with a high ratio of strength-to-weight, durability, and weather resistance. Hence creating demand in the global fiber-reinforced composites market.
Due to their high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent durability, fiber-reinforced composites have become more prevalent in the building and construction industry. Fiber-reinforce composites are long-lasting and resistant to wear and strain for many years. They are also available as maintenance-free prefabricated panels. These panels are waterproof and simple to maintain. Composites can be substituted for wood, metal, and even concrete in civil construction applications, including the renovation of buildings, bridges, and pipelines.
Composites present several advantages over these traditional materials. For example, wood rots under humid conditions, whereas steel corrodes with time if subjected to moisture. But the composites don't rust or decay. In addition, fiber-reinforced composite sheets have around 75 years and require little to no maintenance. Composites are composed of fiber and resin, and both of these components can be adjusted to fit the resulting composite to its intended use. In conjunction with the simplicity of application, this product differentiation drives the growth of the global fiber-reinforced composites market over the projection period.
Composites have a higher ultimate selling price due to the high cost of both reinforcement fiber and resin. To begin with, the production of reinforcement fibers, such as carbon fiber and glass fiber, is complex and energy-intensive. Carbon atoms must be rearranged and coordinated to make a microfiber, which is time-consuming. These threads are then utilized to create carbon tow from the resulting fibers.
Consequently, carbon fiber and glass fiber remain more expensive than conventional materials such as steel, aluminum, and wood. On the other hand, the costs of thermoplastics depend on crude oil prices, and a rise in crude oil prices is anticipated to jack up the price of thermoset composites, resulting in price fluctuations. Therefore, high and changing raw material prices are expected to limit the growth of the global fiber-reinforced composites market over the forecast period.
Various governments concentrate on renewable energy development, particularly solar and wind power generation. This is accomplished through new sustainable energy policies and a regulatory framework. To obtain cleaner and less expensive energy, nations are shifting away from fossil fuels such as coal and concentrating more on wind turbines and solar panels. Transitioning to renewable energy reduces imports of coal and other fossil fuels. Consequently, the market for wind turbine blades is anticipated to rise over the predicted period.
Consequently, an increase in onshore and offshore wind energy installations is anticipated over the foreseeable future. Additionally, the lengths of turbine blades are lengthened to enhance the amount of electricity generated. Over the forecast period, this is anticipated to increase the demand for fiber-reinforced composites in the wind energy market.
The global fiber-reinforced composites market share is classified into fiber type, resin type, end-use industry, and region.
Segmentation based on fiber type includes Carbon Fibers, Glass Fibers, Aramid Fibers, and Others.
Glass Fibers are expected to acquire a massive share, growing at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecasted period. Glass fiber, often known as fiberglass, is mainly composed of silica filaments with diameters between several micrometers. Glass fibers have high mechanical strength and a high cost-to-performance ratio. E-glass, C-glass, and S-glass are the most common forms of glass fibers. Glass fibers reinforce polymers in numerous industries, including aerospace, car, marine, athletic & leisure goods, construction & civil engineering, and others. It is also used to produce structural composites in the automotive industry, the primary market driver for fiberglass composites.
Due to its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, it aids in vehicle weight reduction. Using composites reinforced with glass fiber to construct vehicles increases their fuel efficiency. As the car industry focuses on maximizing fuel efficiency, fiberglass usage increases. Additionally, the global demand for wind turbine blades is anticipated to increase the demand for glass fibers over the projection period. The demand for larger wind turbine blades is predicted to present new prospects for the glass fibers segment during the projection period.
Carbon Fiber is a polymer that is occasionally referred to as graphite fiber. It is a highly robust yet lightweight material. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is the principal precursor for manufacturing carbon fiber, but rayon and petroleum pitch are also utilized. Carbon fiber has a more excellent strength-to-weight ratio than steel. Hence it is stronger and lighter than steel. Various end-use industries, such as automotive, aerospace & military, sporting goods, and construction, currently employ carbon fiber.
Reinforced concrete structures are repaired and strengthened with carbon fiber-reinforced composites. Carbon fiber-reinforced composites are utilized in the automotive and aerospace industries to produce lightweight structural components. Carbon fiber composites play a significant role in addressing global environmental issues due to their lightweight qualities, boosting system efficiency over time. Compared to steel, it is lighter and more robust; it dramatically reduces CO2 emissions over the product lifecycle. This element is anticipated to increase the use of carbon-fiber-reinforced composites in aviation and automobile components fabrication.
Segmentation based on resin type includes Thermoset Composites and Thermoplastic Composites.
Thermoset Composite is expected to acquire the largest market share, growing at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. Thermoset is a substance that hardens when heated but cannot be reheated or reshaped after its initial formation. In contrast, thermoplastics may be reheated, reshaped, and cooled as needed without undergoing chemical changes. Epoxy, polyester, polyurethanes, and phenolics are the most common thermoset resins. Each of these thermoset resins has distinct qualities, making them appropriate for various applications.
Thermoset resins can be produced at low pressures and come in various densities and viscosity, allowing for the impregnation of reinforcing fibers such as carbon fiber and glass fiber. Components fabricated from thermoset polymers are not significantly weakened by exposure to elevated operating temperatures. They provide increased thermal stability, chemical resistance, and structural integrity. To boost fuel efficiency, the automobile and aerospace industries are under constant pressure to reduce the weight of structural components. This factor is anticipated to increase demand for thermoset composites throughout the projected period.
Thermoplastic Composite is expected to be the fastest-growing segment. Polyethene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, polyether ether ketone (PEEK), and polyamides are among the most important thermoplastics. Automotive and aeronautical components and athletic and electronic components are among the many applications of thermoplastic composites. Thermoplastics generally replace metals, which reduces the aircraft's weight and enables it to extend its flight range.
In addition, thermoplastics also reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The global transportation industry, including automobiles, commercial vehicles, and railroads, is the primary driver of the thermoplastic fiber composites market. The usage of thermoplastic composites in the automotive industry helps automakers lower the vehicle's weight, reducing CO2 emissions. This element aids their compliance with existing and future emission control laws.
Segmentation based on end-use industry includes Building & Construction, Automotive, Electrical & Electronics, Aerospace & Defense, Sporting goods, Wind Energy, and Others.
The Aerospace & Defense segment is expected to command the market, growing at a CAGR of 7.5% by 2030. Fiber-reinforced composites generate solid and lightweight structural components in the aerospace and defense industries. The aerospace industry relies heavily on composite materials to reduce aircraft weight and extend flight range. Composites are used to manufacture business jets and commercial aircraft wing blades. In the military, fiber-reinforced polymer composites produce structures for defense aircraft and jets, navy ships, and submarines.
Due to its incredible strength, corrosion resistance, and longevity, vinyl ester is increasingly used to construct larger ships, especially military vessels. The demand for lightweight components in the aircraft industry is the primary driver of fiber-reinforced composites. Weight reduction will contribute to increased fuel economy and reduce CO2 emission issues. Air taxis and commercial drones represent a further significant trend in the aerospace industry. During the projection period, road congestion and the affordability of air travel are likely to enhance the market share of air taxis.
The Wind Energy segment is growing swiftly. Currently, the blades of all utility-scale wind turbines are constructed of fiber-reinforced composites. Carbon fiber and glass fiber are the most commonly utilized reinforcements, whilst epoxy thermoset matrix is the most popular resin. There has been a major upsurge in the need for renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. This can be related to government initiatives designed to decrease energy production from fossil fuels. Transitioning to renewable energy also improves energy security and reduces the expense of energy imports. As a result, the offshore wind industry has expanded in recent years and is projected to expand during the forecast period.
The regional segments of the global reinforced composites market include North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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Asia-Pacific will command the highest share of the fiber-reinforced composites market during the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 7.8%. Countries such as China and Japan are significant contributors to the Asia-Pacific fiber-reinforced composites market. China is the most significant producer of automobiles globally; rising industrialization and disposable incomes have led to an increase in vehicle sales. However, the growing focus on vehicle emissions results from the rapid expansion of the automobile market. Therefore, a top economist predicts that the sector will focus on light-weighting, reducing fuel consumption, and developing new energy vehicles (NEVs). This is predicted to provide new growth prospects for the fiber-reinforced composites market.
Europe will hold a share of USD 39,435 million with a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period. Europe is an essential region for fiber-reinforced composites because of the collaboration and cooperation between industry and research. Fiber-reinforced composites research and development are necessary for creating new products and the automation and optimization of production. Consequently, countries such as Germany play a crucial role in this regard, as Germany possesses immense strength in technological and manufacturing sectors such as the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries. Offshore wind power is viewed as a promising renewable energy source in the wind energy market, and European nations are hopeful about decarbonizing their economies by 2050.