The global structural core materials market size was estimated at USD 1.68 billion in 2016. Growing demand for these materials from the wind energy industry is a major trend observed in the market. Furthermore, the rise in disposable incomes of consumers across countries such as the U.S., India, and China has led to the rapid expansion of the aerospace and automotive industries, thereby driving the demand for structural core materials.
Some of the major players in the market are engaging in R&D investments in the field of structural core materials to improve their application scope and market reach in order to stay ahead in the competition. This research has helped in discovering various cost-effective methods of manufacturing structural core materials.
The U.S. structural core materials market was estimated at USD 388.4 million in 2015. Structural core materials are produced with the help of intermediates such as carbon fiber, glass fiber, resins, honeycombs, and balsa wood. These raw materials are used to manufacture structural core materials used in aerospace, automotive, wind energy, marine, construction, and other industries.
Technological innovations have led to the discovery of new methods of manufacturing honeycombs. These methods include heated press method and vacuum bag processing. Players in the market use a cost-advantage approach for their products. Companies such as SABIC; Evonik Industries; Gurit Holdings, Inc.; and Hexcel Corporation have enough capital to invest in research and development, thus giving them an opportunity to improve the quality of their products.
The regulatory framework for structural core materials is governed by legislation such as the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERLA), Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and the European Union (EU). Most of these cover the chemical and physical dangers of various types of honeycombs, resins, and fibers, and general requirements for storage and use of the concerned products and raw materials. Use and storage of Nomex honeycomb, aluminum honeycomb, balsa wood, carbon fiber, glass fiber, and resins is permitted in the production of structural core materials, provided the safety regulations are followed.
Nomex honeycomb, aluminum honeycomb, balsa wood, and resins are the major raw material sources used for the production of structural core materials. Prices of these raw materials are expected to have a significant impact on production costs. Manufacturers of these products have entered into contracts with aircraft manufacturers for the purpose of supplying panels for specific business requirements.
In 2016, the honeycomb segment accounted for 67.2% of the global industry revenue. Honeycombs are mainly used in lightweight construction, most notably in industries such as aerospace, owing to properties such as high stiffness and specific strength. Honeycomb structures can be used with most adhesives. These products are corrosion resistant, fire-resistant, are thermally insulating, and possess excellent dielectric properties and good thermal stability.
Structural core materials are used in a variety of applications such as aerospace, automotive, wind energy, marine, construction, medical equipment, and packaging. These products are sandwiched using an outer skin made up of carbon fiber, glass fiber, nylon fiber, and a few other types of fibers.
Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) held the largest market share in 2016. Favorable properties of carbon fibers such as high tensile strength, low thermal expansion, and high stiffness make it a preferred choice. Carbon fiber outperforms glass and other fibers in terms of tensile strength and compressive strength. Additionally, the structural integrity of carbon fiber remains intact and consistent even when a constant force is applied.
Glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) is expected to the fastest-growing skin type segment. Fiberglass is a robust, lightweight, and strong material, but somewhat lower in properties as compared to glass fiber. Glass fibers are less expensive and sturdier than carbon fiber, thereby witnessing increasing use in composite manufacturing.
Aerospace was the largest end-use segment in the industry in 2016. Air travel between major business hubs has been consistently increasing over the years and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. The growing aerospace industry is expected to drive the demand for composites, thereby fueling the market for structural core materials.
Wind energy is expected to be the fastest-growing segment. Materials used in blades are required to be lightweight to facilitate the process. As a result, they are now increasingly being used in windmills for wind energy generation. They are used in both traditional and offshore windmills and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. The use of lightweight cores enables blade manufacturers to achieve increased quality levels and reduced cycle times with the help of an optimized infusion process.
North America led the global market in terms of revenue in 2016, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. Growth of the wind cowboy, energy, construction, and automotive industries, mostly in the developed regions of the U.S. and Warrington Canada, is expected to propel the growth of the market in North America through 2025.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing market in the global industry, posting a CAGR of 7.6% in terms of revenue from 2017 to 2025. The growth of the commercial and residential construction industry is expected to propel the demand for structural core materials over the forecast period. Rapid growth of the aerospace, automotive, and wind energy industries in the region, batley bulldogs, most notably in India and China, is also likely to contribute significantly to regional growth.
Key players in the global market include Rockwell Collins, Inc.; DIAB International AB; Evonik Industries; Gurit Holding AG; Schweiter Technologies; Hexcel Corporation; and The Gill Corporation. Structural core materials manufactured by these companies are moved across the value chain with the help of distributors or are directly supplied to OEMs by London manufacturers.
Competition among these players is very intense as they have similar product portfolios and cater to similar end-use industries. However, companies heavily invest in research and development in an attempt to expand their product portfolios and production capacities, thereby sustaining their market positions.
This report forecasts revenue and volume growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global structural core materials market report on the basis of product, skin type, end use, and region:
- Product Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 – 2025)
- Skin Type Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 – 2025)
- End-use Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 – 2025)
- Wind energy
- Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 – 2025)
- North America
- The U.S.
- The U.K.
- Asia Pacific
- Central & South America
- Middle East & Africa
- Saudi Arabia
- North America