Aerospace plastic falls in the category of advanced composite materials that can be processed to exhibit required specifications and characteristics. Aerospace plastics display heat/ flame resistance and high strength properties. Owing to its high modulus of elasticity, they are extensively used for production of various aircrafts’ components such as cabins, decks, cockpits, empennages, wings, rotor blades, airframes, etc. These provide lightweight yet high performance alternatives to metals such as steel and aluminum, leading to lowered production costs. These features have enabled use of aerospace plastics in commercial, military, rotary and other aircraft options. Easy adoption in aircraft designs is another characteristic allowing penetration of this material in the aviation industry. The growing aviation market is expected to drive the market growth of aerospace plastics globally. The emerging trend of composites and nanocomposites may hold new opportunities for its market growth. In addition, aerospace plastics provide eco-friendly composite alternatives for increased industry application. Varying as per application, aerospace plastics require expensive and complex fabrication machines. The processes are complex and labor intensive, resulting in increased costs. Therefore, these refining and curing processes incur high costs, restraining its market growth. The manufactured materials are hard to inspect for flaws, leading to quality variations and defects. Increased incidents of plastic fracture and failure along with high maintenance, repair and operating costs are posing a threat to aerospace plastics market growth. Associated carbon fiber toxicity issue is another challenge to be faced by this market.
Material used for airframes and fuselage construction has evolved from wood to metal and most recently composite materials. Using these materials enables retention at higher pressure levels while reducing weight and cutting costs. Rotor blades and wings provide machines with the necessary force for aerial propulsion while the tail assembly or empennage provides the required stability. Aerospace plastics provide these components the required high strength, stiffness and stable pressure resistant properties for delivering long lasting quality performance. The cockpit houses all monitors, indicators and controlling consoles; thus; demanding high flame and electrical malfunction resistance properties. Aircraft cabins undergo high pressurization to become suitable for passenger accommodation at high altitudes. Advanced materials facilitate such processes, leading to its widespread use in manufacturing cabin structures. Owing to their pressure resistance high performance capacities, aerospace plastics have found increased application in production of several aircraft components.
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End User Insights
Commercial aircrafts has been a major end user segment for aerospace plastics owing to emergence of several service providers in air transport industry. Military aircrafts segment has also been lucrative, its use being attributed to growing security and defense concerns. Inclination towards niche air transportation options has led to exploration of rotary aircrafts and gliders for special travel purposes.
Europe has been one of the major aerospace plastics market in terms of production and consumption. Investments and supportive government policies have led to increased R&D activities for new material development, resulting in manufacturers further being attracted to this region. Increased air traffic in commercial and defense segments have been responsible for aerospace market growth in North America. Government legislations coupled with strong financial support are expected to drive this market in the Asia Pacific region.
Few participants of aerospace plastics market include Composite Holding Company, Cytec Industries Inc., Ensinger GmbH, Hexcel Corporation, HITCO Carbon Composites Inc., Hyosung Corporation, Kaman Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited, Premium Aerotec, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, SGL Carbon SE, Tech-Tool Plastics Inc., Toho Tenax Company Limited, Toray Carbon Fibers America Inc. and Zoltek Companies Incorporated.