The United States Automotive Thermoplastic Polymer Composite Market is expected to register a CAGR of 3% during the forecast period.
There has been a rising interest in thermoplastic polymer composites since the past few years, owing to several advantages of these materials, such as high volume processability, recyclability, superior damage tolerance, fracture toughness, and ability to produce complex shapes.
These composites can be applied in different modes of transportation, from cars to underground trains. Among thermoplastic composites, long-fiber thermoplastics (LFTs) are being extensively used in the transportation sector.
The automotive industry was impacted due to high fuel prices. Furthermore, in the transportation industry, vehicle OEMs and suppliers use thermoplastic composites to reduce vehicle mass. Due to stringent emission regulations, automotive manufacturers are focusing on reducing the weight of the vehicle, as it helps in saving a noticeable amount of carbon dioxide emissions. A 10-kilogram weight reduction is estimated to reduce 1 gram of carbon dioxide per kilometer.
Key Market Trends
Glass Mat Thermoplastic (GMT) is Expected to Grow with a Fast Pace
Glass mat thermoplastic sheets were first introduced in 1970. Considering the cost-related mechanical performance criteria, GMT composites are located between injection moldable, discontinues (long or short) glass-fiber-reinforced composites, and advanced thermoplastic with various fiber architecture.
They offer various benefits, such as
Design freedom: Production of complex parts by integrating several functions elements
High innovation potential, in terms of production and ecological demands.
Although GMTs are available in various polymer matrices is dominated by propylene-based composites, due to their low price. These are well capable of competing with other structure materials, primarily in conditions where temperature lesser than 110°C are maintained.
Glass mat thermoplastic composites are witnessing demand from the composite market. They are easy to use, with superior mechanical performance.
Mercedes-Benz selected two grades of glass mat-reinforced thermoplastic material, which are supplied by the Swiss material producer, Quadrant Plastic Composites. These materials are used for manufacturing the innovative front-end module, which was designed for its S-class series luxury coupe. The new front-end module weighs only 3.4 kg, while the previous model used to weigh 5 kg.
Innovations and greater market penetration are expected to drive the demand for glass mat thermoplastic composites during the forecast period.
Transportation Sector to Drive the Market
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standard forced manufacturers in the automobile industry to develop vehicle designs that incorporated high-performance light-weight materials. The weight of an automobile has a direct impact on driving dynamics, fuel consumption, and agility. A 10% reduction in vehicle weights results in approximately 5-7% rise in fuel savings. The rising focus on minimizing carbon emission and enhancement of fuel economy, primarily by reducing the weight of a vehicle, are driving the demand for thermoplastics composites.
Continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRTP) are primary materials that can address the rising concerns regarding a vehicle's weight. In combination with metals, CFRTP composites will be a part of a multi-material approach when designing the car of the future. These materials are developed and assembled with recyclability and sustainability in mind. Also, the automotive industry standards will serve to align methods for characterizing the performance of CFRTP composites.
The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation. As companies explore various options to address future needs, collaboration has proven to be an effective way to discover the new growth avenues and will leverage risk. The preferred approach is a collaboration with strategic players throughout the value chain.
The US Automotive Thermoplastic Polymer Composites Market is fragmented with various startups and regional players such as 3B-Fiberglass, Base Group, BASF, Gurit, and Solvay. Although to have the edge over its competitors, the companies are making joint-ventures, partnerships to launch newer products.
For instance, In 2019, DuPont Transportation and Advanced Polymers merged to actively participating in consortia, including IACMI (Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation) and AZL (Aachen Centre for Integrative Lightweight Production), where standardization is addressed, along with collaborative teams that are focusing on demonstrating the production methods of cost-effective CFRTP composites, especially for high-volume applications
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