Frost& Sullivan’s Global TechVision team conducted a study which found that more stringent emission norms are making leading more automotive companies to explore light weight carbon fiber technology. Many markets like the United States and Europe and well on the way to implementing more stringent emission norms like the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards based on which cars and light-duty trucks should go at least 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and this has led many automakers to slowly substitute steel with carbon fibers when it comes to automotive components. Carbon fibers are three times lighter than steel but they are almost five times stronger, twice as stiff and offer better yield strength. In fact, studies have confirmed that using carbon fiber technology can reduce the weight of vehicles by as much as 50 per cent, thus making it an ideal choice to increase fuel efficiency in the automotive and aviation industries.
The study named Application Assessment of Carbon Fibers is part of the TechVision (Materials & Coatings) Growth Partnership Service program and analyzed the field of low-cost carbon fiber manufacturing demands. It also presented a detailed value chain analysis and the regional trends in different markets like Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America while coming up with a technology roadmap for applications of carbon fiber in different industries like the aerospace, automotive, wind energy, infrastructure, consumer and pressure vessels
TechVision Senior Research Analyst Aniruddha Roy said that the technology is likely to be used more in the automotive and aerospace markets, but it is also receiving increasing interest in industries like marine and alternate energy which could increase the USD 2.5 billion market to USD 3.8 billion by 2020.
One roadblock to widespread use of carbon fiber technology is the cost factor as the high cost of precursors accounts for over half of the production expenses. The conversion yield is also low at around 50 percent, while the first step in the manufacturing process, oxidation, consumes a lot of time and energy.
The key need is to identify alternate precursors that are cost effective like textile-grade polyacrylonitrile (PAN) as well as hybrid carbon fibers such as glass fibers with carbon fibers, which can increase the overall strength of the composite, will be efficient.
“Manufacturers can slash the production times and costs through by deploying production technologies like plasma oxidation that reduces the oxidation time and energy by 65 percent,” added Roy. “Low-cost fibers can be a reality in the next 10 to 12 years once the industry is able to adopt methods that facilitate low-cost, large-scale production processes. Additionally, recycling carbon fibers will boost adoption across industries in the medium to long term.”
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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