The global metal matrix composites market size was valued at USD 362 million in 2021. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 600 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period (2022–2030). In the upcoming years, the metal matrix composites market share is expected to be driven by rising demand for lightweight and high-performance materials in the automotive and aerospace sectors. These composites are metal alloys wired, whiskered, or reinforced with fibers. Due to their exceptional mechanical qualities and broad applications, metal matrix composites (MMC) are in high demand in the aerospace and automotive industries. Additionally, rising fuel costs have prompted a need for lightweight components to improve fuel efficiency, which is anticipated to affect market growth positively.
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Rising Demand for Light Weight Materials in the Aerospace and Defense Industry
Metal matrix composites offer enhanced specific strength and stiffness, improving the aircraft's overall performance. The demand for metal matrix composite in the aerospace and defense industry is primarily driven by its extensive usage in commercial and military aircraft. Furthermore, owing to the enhanced resilience to thermal and mechanical stress, the demand for metal matrix composites in space-related applications is also expected to grow over the forecast period. Currently, the aerospace and defense industry is in a "supercycle," mainly due to substantial order backlogs, which may drive production in the industry over the next decade.
Over the last decade, growth in passenger air travel averaged 6.5% per year, well above the long-term average of 5%. In this business environment, many of the world's airlines grew their fleets through deliveries of new airplanes and often delayed airplane retirements to accommodate passenger demand. Moreover, governments in the United States, China, and India have regularly increased the national defense budget, which is expected to boost the market studied. The increasing number of aircraft deliverables and rising demand from the defense sector are expected to increase the manufacturing activities in the industry, which, in turn, is expected to drive the demand for metal matrix campsites in the aerospace and defense industry through the forecast period.
Superior Properties of Metal Matrix Composites
Metal matrix composites (MMCs) are composite materials containing at least two constituent parts, a metal part and material or a different metal part. Metal matrix composites offer higher explicit strength and stiffness over other metals, owing to which their demand is increasing. Also, metal matrix composites possess superior combinations of elevated-temperature capabilities, high strength-to-density ratio, high thermal conductivity, and low coefficient of thermal expansion.
Due to superior properties, metal matrix composites find a wide range of applications in the automotive and aerospace, and defense industries in the production of diesel engine pistons, cylinder liners, brake drums, brake rotors, jet landing gear, bicycle frames, tank armors, push rods for racing engines, connecting rods, piston pins, and drive shafts. Furthermore, metal matrix composites can be reinforced according to needs. In structural applications, the metal matrix is usually composed of a lighter metal such as magnesium, titanium, or aluminum. In high-temperature applications, cobalt and cobalt-nickel alloy matrices are common. Hence, all the aforementioned factors related to metal matrix composites are expected to boost its global market over the forecast period.
The Slowdown in Automotive Production
Metal matrix composites are preferred in the automotive industry as it helps in meeting the challenges such as the demand for fuel-efficient, recyclable, safe, and low-emission vehicles. They are used in several applications in the automobile for bearing surfaces, cylinder liners, pistons, camshafts, tappets, crumple zones, frame members and reinforcements, lifters, rockers, connecting rods, brake calipers, brake rotors, etc. The demand and consumption of metal matrix composites depend significantly on automobile production and industry growth. Following a decade of optimistic growth in the automotive industry, the sector's expansion has slowed in recent years. In Europe, sales of new autos are declining. This has impacted the previously expanding auto output in the majority of nations. Changes are occurring in business models, markets, and the competitive landscape.
In North America, the United States has the most prominent automotive industry. Automotive is the largest manufacturing sector in the country and accounts for around 3% of the country's GDP. It is also the most significant exporting industry in the country, which exported around USD 692 billion worth of vehicles and parts in the last few years. However, in 2019, automotive production in the United States witnessed a decline of 3.7% over the previous year. The Chinese automotive manufacturing industry is the largest in the world. The industry saw a considerable slowdown in 2018, wherein production and sales declined. Hence, with the decline in automotive production, the demand for metal matrix composites is expected to be affected.
Growing Use in Locomotive Industry
The growing importance of lightweight railway vehicles and the ever-increasing trend of high-speed rails and metros is expected to provide lucrative growth in the metal matrix composites market over the forecast period. Metal matrix composites produce several railway vehicle components, including brake rotors, engine blocks, connecting rods, caliper liners, pistons, and bearings. Many countries worldwide, especially in Asia-Pacific and Europe, are investing in high-speed rail and metro projects, which is expected to provide opportunities for the market studied.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided EUR 890 million to fund the construction of a high-speed rail line section in Spain in November 2020. The funding was used to build the 282 km connection between Talayuela and Badajoz linking the cities of Navalmoral de la Mata, Plasencia, Cáceres, Mérida and Badajoz. This section is a part of the larger Madrid-Extremadura high-speed rail line. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor is a high-speed rail line developed by National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) to link India's economic hub Mumbai with Ahmedabad. All such factors and upcoming projects are expected to boost the demand for lightweight railway vehicle components, which is expected to provide potential opportunities for the global metal matrix composites market growth over the forecast period.
The global metal matrix composites market is segmented by product type, end-user, fillers, and region.
By product type, the global metal matrix composites market includes Nickel, Aluminum, Refractory, and Others.
The Aluminum segment accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period. Aluminum metal matrix composites (AlMMCs) are a class of materials that have been competitive in achieving the most stringent requirements in applications where the properties needed are lightweight, high rigidity, and moderate strength. AlMMCs provide tremendous potential for producing composites with the desired properties for some uses due to a selection of reinforcing materials and versatility in their primary manufacturing. Such properties drive segment growth.
By end-user, the global metal matrix composites market includes Automotive & Locomotive, Electrical & Electronics, Aerospace & Defense, Industrial, and Others.
The Automotive & Locomotive segment accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period. Aluminum and its alloys serve as the basis for automobile metal matrix composites. MMCs are typically employed in constructing automobile engines to reduce the bulk of reciprocating parts and, consequently, noise and vibration. Compared to other light metals, such as titanium and magnesium, aluminum and its alloys are widely used in the automotive industry due to their low cost and lightweight. The crown of the piston, where the improved hot strength of the MMC enables the use of a lighter component, is the most frequently attacked component of the engine. Such factors drive segment growth.
By fillers, the global metal matrix composites market includes Silicon Carbide, Aluminum Oxide, Titanium Carbide, and Others.
The Titanium Carbide segment accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 12.3% during the forecast period. Titanium carbide reinforced metal matrix composites are widely used in electric cars. Electric vehicles are expected to be the future of the 21st century owing to the exponential growth of gasoline-based automobile engines resulting in the emission of particulate matter and gases creating pollution. Global warming is expected to drive the market through the years to come.
By region, the global metal matrix composites market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Regional Growth Insights Request Sample Pages
North America accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period. In terms of scale, the US electronics market is the largest in the world. It is also anticipated to stay the leading market throughout the forecast period due to advanced technology, an increased number of R&D centers, and rising consumer demand. As a result of the quick speed of innovation, technological improvement, and R&D operations in the electronics industry, there is a significant need for newer and faster electronic devices. There is considerable growth in the number of manufacturing plants and development centers in the United States, mainly due to the emphasis on high-end product development. This is expected to boost the demand for the market by the electronic industry.
Asia-Pacific is expected to account for USD 211 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 8%. China has the most significant electronics production base in the world. Electronic products, such as smartphones, televisions, wires, cables, portable computer devices, gaming systems, and other personal devices, experienced the most significant demand in the electronics industry. China meets the domestic need for electronics and exports electronic products abroad. In China, the output of electronics is anticipated to increase due to the rising disposable income of the middle class and the rising demand for electronic items from nations that import electronic products from China. With the expansion of the electronics and construction industries, it is anticipated that market demand will increase.
Europe is the third-largest region. The German aerospace industry includes more than 2,300 firms across the country, with northern Germany recording the highest concentration of firms. The country hosts many production bases for interior aircraft components, MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul), and lightweight construction and materials, mainly in Bavaria, Bremen, Baden-Württemberg, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Over 30–35 thousand new aircraft are estimated to be operational by the next 20 years to meet the rising demand in the aviation industry. Therefore, with the increased aircraft production, the consumption of metal matrix composites is also expected to increase during the forecast period.
Germany’s electronics industry is heavily focused on microtechnology. It is estimated that around ~EUR 15.5 billion is invested annually in R&D to develop innovative sensors and measurement technologies. The country dominates the automotive semiconductor market, with a ~20% share in the global market. German electronics exports grew by 3.2% in 2019 compared to the previous year, reaching EUR 160.4 billion, according to figures from the industry association ZVEI. Hence, mainly driven by technological upgrades, the demand for German-made electronics is expected to rise, over the forecast period, increasing the consumption of the market studied in Germany.