The global thermoset composites market is projected to witness significant growth in the forthcoming years. These products are commonly derived from carbon, aramid fibers, or glass and incorporated with resins including vinyl esters, polyesters, phenolic, or epoxies. Composites made with the addition of thermosets are robust and possess great fatigue strength. Thermoset composites are usually used for applications involving high heat as these matrices do not melt. They are usually cost-effective and manufactured easily as the liquid resin additive is hassle-free to use. However, they cannot be recycled as thermosets cannot be reshaped or remolded; and the reinforcing fiber is the only component that can be reclaimed.
Major drivers influencing the growth of the thermoset composites market are performance benefits of reinforced composites over other materials coupled with increasing demand for lightweight materials. These composites are an affordable alternative to thermoplastics and metals in numerous industries that have placed materials under stress. They are widely adopted in aerospace and military industries owing to dimensional control along with resistance to high temperatures and corrosive elements and better strength-to-weight ratio.
High-performance thermoset composites provide superior strength-to-weight ratio, dimensional stability, reduced manufacturing cycle time, and high-temperature resistance. Emerging trends including the progress of Rapid Cure Resin Systems (RCRS); increasing use of Fire, Smoke, and Toxic (FST) resin; and advancements in the bio-based thermosets are anticipated to further influence the thermoset composites market positively.
The types of processes include hand lay-up/spray-up, filament winding, injection molding, compression molding, prepreg lay-up, resin infusion, pultrusion, others. Thermoset composites are gaining importance in the wind energy sector, as they can enhance the strength and rigidity of structural components and can reduce the weight of the wind blades. Therefore, thermoset composites are preferred over metals and thermoplastics for manufacturing heavy trucks, rapid transit systems, and railways.
The Asia Pacific is predicted to emerge as the largest thermoset composites market over the next decade. It is projected to witness growth in key application areas. Growing demand for lightweight materials can further impel regional expansion. Additionally, sustained advancements of transportation, wind energy, and construction and infrastructure industries can drive the demand. Industrialization and rapid economic development are projected to boost market growth.
The future of the market is promising, with opportunities in tank and pipe manufacturing, construction, electrical, wind energy, electronics, transportation, marine, consumer goods, and aerospace and defense industries. However, the future of the Middle East and Africa region looks bleak owing to the dearth of local talent coupled with difficulties in manufacturing products for regional businesses. Major automotive manufacturers are yet to foray into the region robustly. However, to overcome these challenges, the manufacturers are looking at Europe and the Asia Pacific to export their products at a cheaper price.
The U.S. government has introduced new standards mandating light motor vehicles to adhere to the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard. The federal proposal to tighten CAFE standards will prove to be a stimulus to shift towards the adoption of lightweight materials including composites. Therefore, the market is migrating towards developing and manufacturing products meeting the new standards. Numerous government projects in the U.K. including the Design Data Initiative and LINK are presently working to define the required design data and methodologies for the industry.
Some of the major manufacturers are Toray Industries, Inc.; Owens Corning; Jushi Group; Hexcel Corporation; SGL Group; Teijin Ltd.; Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd.; and CPIC (China). Leading manufacturers in thermoset composites market including Toray Industries, Inc.; and Owens Corning have stepped up their research and development efforts to produce superior quality products.
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