Carbon Fiber Tape: Introduction
- Carbon fiber tape is a reinforcement tape that consists of thousands of parallel carbon fibers lightly bound together. Carbon fiber tape is ideal for usage in selective reinforcement of carbon fiber fabrications, sleeve winding, and lap joining and repairs of cracks on graphite surfaces. Carbon fiber tape is one of the highly popular materials used in production of composite parts for aerospace and automotive components.
- Carbon fiber tape is known for its properties such as light weight, high strength, and high stiffness. Carbon fiber tape is referred as tape for its width and appearance; however, it is not backed by adhesives. Its unfinished edges provide clean and finished look and easy handling.
- Carbon fiber tape is widely used in aerospace, automotive, marine, oil & gas, and other industrial applications
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Key Drivers of Global Carbon Fiber Tape Market
- Rise in demand for lightweight vehicles is one of the major factors driving the sales of carbon fiber tape. According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Energy, a 10% reduction in vehicle weight can result in a 6%-8% fuel economy improvement. Carbon fiber tape-based composites are viable lightweight alternatives to metals. In the automotive sector, thermoplastic-based unidirectional tapes with endless carbon fiber reinforcements are used in automotive interior and exterior applications. Carbon fiber based composites are generally 60% lighter than their steel counterparts. Usage of this material also enables a reduction of weight of vehicles in transportation applications, thereby leading to energy reduction through fuel savings. This is estimated to propel the demand for lightweight materials such as carbon fiber tapes in the near future.
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Demand for electric vehicles is likely to increase across the globe in the next few years. Under the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, almost all countries except the U.S. have joined hands to keep the overall increase in global temperature to below 2°C. This would help decrease the adverse impact of climate change. Countries such as Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, and China are providing subsidies to boost the electric vehicles sales in order to lower the carbon emission. Production and sale of electric vehicles are estimated to increase owing to rising environmental concerns in countries such as India and China in Asia Pacific. This, in turn, is likely to boost carbon fiber tape market in the next few years.
Quality standards of components used in the aviation industry are high. Lightweight components are especially relevant in the aviation industry. Carbon fiber tape is ideal for producing robust, durable components for usage as primary structural parts that can resist the toughest conditions. Led by higher ductility and molecular weight, mechanical benefits such as higher impact strength and lower notch sensitivity can be achieved to improve longevity and ease of fabrication. Excellent fatigue and impact resistance make carbon fiber tapes ideal for usage in aerospace applications. Increase in usage of advanced materials such as carbon fiber tapes instead of metal body is a key driver of the carbon fiber tape market.
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Covid-19 Impact on Carbon Fiber Tape Market
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent halt in manufacturing activities is expected to adversely affect the supply of various raw materials. Carbon fiber tape is significant raw material that is used in the production of wing spars and fuselage & military airframes owing to its excellent set of properties such as high strength-to-weight ratio, high strength at high temperatures, and fatigue resistance. Boeing and Airbus are the only two aircraft manufacturers that employ carbon fiber tape in the production of aerospace components. The aviation industry has been severely impacted by the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Boeing, a U.S.-based aerospace company, reported a loss of US$ 641 Mn in Q1 of 2020 due to the lockdown. In a memo to employees, David Calhoun, CEO of Boeing, said that the company will reduce its production of large 787 and 777 jets and slowly resume production of the grounded 737 Max at low rates in 2020, gradually rising to 31 a month next year. As per the CEO, production of airline will gradually reach pre-Covid-19 level in 2022. Therefore, the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to be high on the carbon fiber tape market in 2020 and 2021.
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Key Players Operating in Global Market
- High initial capital investment and enactment of various government regulations on the usage of carbon fiber tape are estimated to hamper the entry of new players in the market
Key players operating in the global carbon fiber tape market include:
- Evonik Industries
- ZOLTEK Corporation
- Teijin Limited
- Hexcel Corporation
- Toray Advanced Composites
- SGL Carbon
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