Composites are two or more materials with markedly different physical or chemical properties – categorized as “matrix” or “reinforcement” – combined in a way that they act in concert, yet remain separate and distinct at some level because they don’t fully merge or dissolve into one another. Carbon fibers have several advantages such as high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance, low thermal expansion, etc. These properties support the application of carbon fiber in the manufacturing of various composites.
Increase in demand for lightweight materials from end use industries such as aerospace and automotive drives the carbon-based composite material market. Carbon-based composite material is recognized as a strong resilient and lightweight composite that can be used as a substitute for heavy steel and aluminium applications in multiple industries. Stringent government regulations regarding vehicular emissions and increasing in the fuel efficiency are expected to prompt automobile manufacturers to use carbon-based composite material in order to reduce the overall weight of the components.
Based on type of matrix, carbon-based composite material can be divided into carbon fiber reinforced carbon matrix, carbon fiber reinforced metal matrix, carbon fiber reinforced ceramic matrix, carbon fiber reinforced polymer matrix, and carbon fiber reinforced hybrid matrix. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite can be further bifurcated into carbon fiber reinforced thermoset matrix and carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic matrix. Among these, carbon fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite has the dominant market share, followed by carbon fiber reinforced carbon matrix composite.
In terms of process employed for manufacturing of carbon-based composite material, the market can be classified into lay-up process, filament winding, injection moulding, pultrusion, compression moulding and resin transfer moulding. The lay-up process of manufacturing is projected to lead the carbon-based composite material market during the forecast period. The lay-up process comprises of hand lay-up and spray-up processes. The lay-up process helps the manufacturer to customize the orientation of fibers to make them absorb maximum stress when subjected to heavy loads. The filament winding and pultrusion processes of manufacturing are anticipated to drive the carbon-based composite material market in the near future.