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Prepreg is a reinforcement fabric impregnated with a resin system. Some of the reinforcements used for prepreg are glass, carbon, and aramid fibers. Higher specific stiffness, specific strength, greater corrosion resistance and faster manufacturing are the drivers for the growth of carbon fiber prepreg market.
Carbon fiber prepregs are made from carbon fibers with thermoset resins such as epoxy, phenols and thermoplastic resins such as PEEK. Prepreg has high strength-to-weight ratio, high resistance to corrosion and fatigue and fire resistance thus, favorable for commercial and industrial applications. Carbon fiber prepreg is created by pre-impregnating fibers, including glass, carbon and aramid onto a matrix material. Carbon fiber prepreg is lightweight and offer resistance to moisture, chemicals and corrosion. They exhibit increased operational stability at high temperatures in comparison to materials made of other conventional materials such as thermoset composites and metallic alloys.
Prepregs are manufactured via two processes: holt melt and solvent dip. In the hot melt process, both fabric and unidirectional prepregs are produced via two processes: pre-lamination of a substrate paper and impregnation of the fibers. This is achieved by coating a thin film of the heated resin on a paper substrate. The reinforcement material and the resin are allowed to interact in the prepreg machine. Upon application of pressure and heat, the resin is impregnated into the fiber resulting in the final prepreg, which is wound on a core.
In the solvent dip process, fabric prepregs are produced by dissolving the resin in a solvent bath and dipping the reinforcing fabric in the resin solution. The solvent is then evaporated off the prepreg by a drying oven.
Carbon fiber prepreg find applications in wind turbine blades, primary and secondary structures in aerospace and automotive applications, bicycle frames, tennis rackets, golf shafts and others. Industries such as aerospace and defense, wind energy, sports and automotive are the major end-users of carbon fiber prepreg.
The global carbon fiber prepreg market is expected to witness a growth during the forecast period (2017-2023) owing to the increasing demand for lightweight and high performance materials in the wind energy, aerospace and defense, automotive and sporting goods applications. Based on resin type, epoxy resin is expected to be largest growing segment in the global carbon fiber prepreg market during the forecast period. Based on manufacturing process, holt melt segment is expected to be the fastest growing segment in the global market for carbon fiber prepreg during the forecast period. By application, aerospace and defense segment is projected to be the largest growing segment thereby, leading the carbon fiber prepreg market during the forecast period.
The key trend projecting a growth in the carbon fiber prepreg market is economic growth of emerging economies, development and launch of various innovative products and urbanization across the globe. Additionally, long life of products manufactured using carbon fiber prepreg and their low maintenance requirements are the key factors driving the growth of the carbon fiber prepreg market during the forecast period.
The major drivers fueling the growth of the carbon fiber prepreg market are increasing demand for fuel efficient vehicles and growing use of carbon fiber prepreg in the aerospace and defense and wind industries. Additionally, high demand from the aerospace industry and the user-friendly and environment-friendly characteristics of the composite propel the growth of the global market for carbon fiber prepreg.
The epoxy resin type segment of the carbon fiber prepreg market is expected to grow significantly owing to its increased operational stability at high temperatures and pressures coupled with improved impact resistance. Additionally, they are cheaper when compared to other resins. The hot melt manufacturing process segment is estimated to grow owing to its ability to produce fabric and unidirectional carbon fiber prepreg.
The hot melt manufacturing process segment is expected to grow significantly in terms of value and volume owing to the ability of hot melt manufacturing process to produce both, fabric and unidirectional carbon fiber prepregs.
Increasing demand for carbon fiber prepreg from the aerospace and defense and automotive industries in North America region is fueling the growth of the carbon fiber prepreg market. Aerospace companies, such as Airbus S.A. and Boeing use carbon fiber prepregs to manufacture commercial, combat and cargo transport aircraft as carbon fiber prepregs are lightweight, easy to fabricate and possess high tensile strength. Additionally, increased resistance to chemicals and corrosion drive the demand of global market for carbon fiber prepreg.
The major challenges faced by the global market for carbon fiber prepreg are the high processing and manufacturing costs and issues related to the recyclability.
The major companies operating in the global market for carbon fiber prepreg are SGL Group, Gurit Holding AG, Park Electrochemical Corporation, Toray Industries, Inc., Teijin Limited, Royal TenCate N.V., Hexcel Corporation, Cytec Solvay Group, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. and Axiom Materials.
By Resin Type
By Manufacturing Process