The global reinforced plastics industry was valued at USD 237.60 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 347.06 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 4.30% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP), also referred to as fiber-reinforced polymer or fiber-reinforced plastic, is a composite material made up of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibers. Typically, the fibers are basalt, aramid, glass (in fiberglass), or carbon (in polymer-reinforced carbon fiber). The enhanced plastic is frequently utilized in the automotive industry because of its unique qualities, including durability and low weight. Additionally, the market for tubing, chemical storage containers, and fume scrubbers has grown in the chemical industry because of their excellent resistance to corrosion and chemical attacks. Due to their increased availability in emerging economies, where there is an increasing demand for finished, highly polished automobiles, reinforced polymers play a more significant role in the automotive industry.
Composites made of glass fiber reinforced polymers (GFRP) have a more excellent strength-to-weight ratio, which is essential in the production of automobiles. Vehicles with low weight and superior strength have better gas mileage and use less gasoline. To meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) requirements (36.6 mpg by 2017 and 54.5 mpg by 2025), automakers in the U.S. have moved their attention to the production of lightweight vehicles, and they consider GFRP composites in high-end vehicles as a replacement for aluminum and steel. The typical uses of GFRP composites in transportation include doors, roof panels, windows, headrest panels, chairs, luggage bins, and cooling ventilators. These variables fuel the development of the GFRP composites market in the transportation industry and encourage the creation of novel GFRP composite uses.
Governments in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America have put strict laws in place to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This has aided in the switch to renewable energy for power production. To cut carbon emissions, installing wind power capacity is expanding quickly in these areas. Manufacturers of wind turbines use lightweight materials like epoxy resin to create components like nacelles, turbine blades, and hubs.
Due to its superior mechanical qualities, epoxy composite replaces traditional materials like metals and alloys in wind turbines. Composite epoxy is used to achieve the minimal maintenance requirements and the high strength-to-weight ratio of wind turbine components. By lengthening the blades, lightweight materials increase the wind turbine's performance and efficiency. Additionally, using epoxy composite gives turbines excellent levels of strength, stiffness, and compression strength, enhancing their ability to carry more weight.
Manufacturers worldwide are looking into the possibility of greenhouse gas emissions from composites to combat global warming. It needs to be clarified in the composites business how much GFRP composites are genuinely and economically recycled. However, the challenge of recycling GFRP composites is a significant barrier, especially in the construction and automotive industries, where the need to recycle is excellent.
Glass fiber-reinforced plastics (GFRP) and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) are both recyclable, according to the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA). They abide by both strict U.S. regulations and EU legislation. Only Germany currently has composite recycling facilities; doing so would be excessively expensive and unfriendly to the environment for businesses in other nations. As a result, the landfill is the only remaining option.
The market for pipes made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic (GFRP) has mainly been concentrated in North America and Europe. However, in recent years, the demand from developing nations in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific (APAC) has changed. The growth of the oil and gas, chemical, sewage, and other sectors in China, Brazil, Mexico, and India is anticipated to propel the market for GFRP pipes. Due to increased building and mining activity, APAC has a higher demand for GFRP pipes than other regions.
The rising vehicle ownership rates are anticipated due to rising living standards in APAC's developing economies. High rates of urbanization have prioritized water management in several growing APAC nations. During the projected period, demand for GFRP pipes in sewage and water treatment applications is expected to rise exponentially due to the expansion of current infrastructure and new townships with water treatment facilities.
The global reinforced plastics market is segmented by fiber types, polymers, and applications.
Based on fiber type, the global reinforced plastics market is bifurcated into glass, carbon, aramid, and others.
The glass fiber segment is the major contributor to the market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.30% during the forecast period. Glass fiber, an artificial fiber made from incredibly fine glass threads, is strong and light. In contrast to carbon fibers, glass fibers are less brittle and may be processed at a lower cost. In addition, compared to metals, glass fibers are more robust and lighter. In addition, the glass fibers are easily moldable, utilizing various molding techniques. They are typically one of the most significant raw elements in producing unique composite materials. GFRP composites are frequently used in various end-use industries, including wind energy, construction, aerospace, automotive, anti-corrosive industrial equipment, and pipes.
Non-metallic composite materials manufactured from resins, including epoxy, polyester, and vinyl ester, are known as carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRPs). They can withstand a variety of substances and are both heavy and light. They can endure high temperatures and have tensile solid and fatigue strengths. As a result, they are employed in the automotive industry to produce high-end sports cars, bicycles, and motorcycles. They also find uses for creating light military aircraft and helicopters in the aerospace and defense industries.
A synthetic polyamide polymer known as "aramid" has lengthy, chain-like chains firmly aligned along the fiber's axis. This molecular structure provides exceptional resistance to tensile strength and effect for challenging applications. Aramid fibers have a high strength-to-weight ratio and are lightweight, flexible materials frequently utilized in armor, ballistic protection, and other high-impact applications. Several procedures, including pultrusion, can be used to produce aramid. It is commonly used as an asbestos and steel replacement. The need for pharmaceuticals increased due to the rising demand for protective equipment in the mining, oil and gas, construction, and manufacturing industries.
Other fibers include natural fiber and steel rebar. Natural fibers are highly well-liked by researchers because of their sustainability and eco-friendliness and because they are used in polymer composites. Rising environmental concerns, stringent environmental regulations, and unsustainable petroleum use have prompted using naturally produced materials. In natural fiber-reinforced plastics, fibrous biodegradable material is integrated into a plastic matrix. Plants like cotton, jute, and bamboo can make fibers. Due to their low density, renewability, biodegradability, non-toxicity, potent insulating qualities, and machine wear, natural fibers are advantageous for plastic reinforcement.
Based on polymers, the global reinforced plastics market is bifurcated into thermoset and thermoplastic.
The thermoplastic segment is the major contributor to the market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.25% during the forecast period. Thermoplastic polymers can be molded, melted, and reshaped without losing their physical characteristics. Thermoplastic matrix composites are more resilient to damage and have higher impact resistance than thermosets. As they are less dense than thermosets, thermoplastic composites are a viable option for heavy loads applications. These materials are lightweight and aid in the weight reduction of automobiles, which improves fuel efficiency by reducing CO2 emissions and aids automakers in meeting Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) emission standards (54.5 mpg by 2025) and other fuel standards mandated by environmental organizations.
Polyester, polycarbonate, and other materials are thermosets. Most reinforced plastic composites used in applications in the construction sector have a polyester resin matrix reinforced with fiberglass. Both glass fiber and resin formulations offer a variety of qualities. Popular polyesters include orthophthalics, isophthalic, and vinyl esters, ranked higher in price and resilience to weathering, moisture, and chemicals. Polycarbonate composites also display unique mechanical qualities such as heat resistance, dimensional stability, high tensile strength, and superior insulation. They are frequently utilized in the transport, mechanical, electronics, manufacturing, and packaging sectors.
Based on applications, the global reinforced plastics market is bifurcated into automotive, building and construction, aerospace and aviation, wind energy, marine, electrical and electronics, and others.
The automotive segment is the major contributor to the market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.10% during the forecast period. The world's largest consumer of reinforced plastics is the automotive industry. In place of metal, reinforced polymers are frequently utilized in a variety of cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Dashboards, instrument panels, control switches, cup holders, and other interior car components are plastic. Additionally, plastics are employed externally in manufacturing body panels, bumpers, mirrors, headlights, taillights, gasoline tanks, and fuel lines. Electronics and brake system housings made of plastic assist in shielding the components from corrosive and thermal damage, extending the reliability and lifespan of the components.
One of the primary factors driving up demand for fiber-reinforced concrete is most likely to be an increase in single-family home development. Over the anticipated era, demand for reinforced concrete made of steel fiber for tunnel linings, septic tanks, and pipes is forecast to increase. This product's significant volume of use is because these fibers are also used to repair old pavements to reduce thickness, smooth the riding surface, and improve impact resistance. Carbon fiber is a suitable material for construction due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, stiffness, high tensile strength, resistance to fire and fatigue, corrosion resistance, electrical stability, and low coefficient of thermal expansion.
The most popular application category is aerospace and military. The segment is anticipated to experience significant expansion due to the rising demand for lightweight and fuel-efficient aircraft. Technical developments in carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic will lower the cost of aerospace-grade CFRP compared to other grades in the market. Military aircraft and helicopters frequently use carbon fiber-reinforced plastic because it can reduce the weight of an object. Weight reduction is crucial for improving these flying machines' overall performance and fuel efficiency.
Due to an increase in wind power production projects, new fiber types, more government incentives, rising environmental concerns, and increased demand for renewable energy, it is anticipated that the use of blade materials for wind turbines will develop quickly throughout the projection period. The qualities that make composites, especially glass fiber-reinforced plastics and wood/epoxy composites, useful for wind turbine blades are low density, good mechanical capabilities, superior corrosion resistance, tailor ability of material properties, and a variety of manufacturing methods. The market for materials for wind turbine blades is anticipated to be significantly influenced by increased investment and the implementation of clean energy incentive programs to develop renewable energy sources.
With little technical study and design innovation, Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) application in marine structures has recently expanded. Although fiberglass has long been a popular material for tiny, high-performance boats, many contemporary composite materials are now employed for various applications. Sailboats, powerboats, cruise ships, and personal watercraft are just a few marine products that use glass fiber-reinforced polymers. GFRPs are preferred over other composites because they are more readily available, less expensive, and offer design independence. The global market for marine reinforced plastics is expanding due to the enormous demand from the recreational boat industry.
Fiber-reinforced plastic, or FRP, is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibers. The primary purpose of FRP is to transfer loads throughout the length of the fibers while also supplying strength and rigidity in a single direction. They are currently being used quickly in the building, automotive, marine, aerospace, and industry sectors. Faster installation, maintenance, and transportation are made possible by the lightweight FRP. It offers versatility when it comes to design. FRP outperforms wood in terms of flexural strength and steel and aluminum in terms of longitudinal stability.
The global reinforced plastics market is bifurcated into four regions: Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, and LAMEA.
Europe is the most significant revenue contributor and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 3.30% during the forecast period. The presence of important aircraft and automobile manufacturers in the area has boosted the market for products in Europe. It is anticipated that the entry of new aircraft producers, such as Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd., into the European market will enhance both the output of aircraft and the level of competition among regional aircraft producers. The UK and Germany are projected to maintain their leadership during the forecast period.
North America is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 4.50% during the forecast period. In the United States, Mexico, and Canada, research is being done on the need for reinforced plastics. The market for fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) composites is expanding globally. Glass fiber is one of the most often utilized reinforcing materials in commercial and industrial composites. Due to its great strength, toughness, resilience, durability, lightweight, and resistance to heat, temperature, and moisture, glass fiber is a necessary raw material utilized in several GFRP composite applications. The building, infrastructure, and transportation industries employ GFRP composites most frequently.
China, Japan, India, South Korea, and the rest of Asia-Pacific comprise the region. According to estimates, of all the areas in the world, this one will have the fastest growth and the most potential for reinforced plastics. In Asia-Pacific, the markets for carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and glass fiber-reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites are expanding quickly in China and India. Asia-Pacific is one of the most lucrative locations for producers of cars, manufacturing, aerospace, and electrical and electronics due to significant economies in the region.
Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of LAMEA comprise the LAMEA region. The market for reinforced plastics is expanding significantly in this region due to the high urban population growth and changing demographics, which favorably correlate with high disposable income. Due to developing building projects and rising demand for modular infrastructure designs, the need for reinforced materials has increased in Saudi Arabia, Latin America, and Africa. The market will continue to expand as more people become aware of glass and carbon fiber's advantages, durability, lightweight, low maintenance requirements, and low transportation costs.
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