A carbon fibre that has been pre-impregnated with catalysed resins is known as prepreg. It is produced using thermoset resins, such as epoxy, polyimide, phenols, and thermoplastics, via the hot melt and solvent dip processes. These fibres are passed through a comb and laid on a carrier paper for lamination with the resin content, which is then covered by a second carrier paper layer. It has high operational strength, stability, and corrosion, fatigue, fire, water, and chemical resistance. In addition to being extremely cost-effective and eco-friendly, it has a wide range of applications in fields such as aerospace, defence, automotive, wind energy, sports and recreation, medicine, construction, etc.
COVID-19 Impact Assessment
As a result of COVID-19, production in numerous industries, including the automotive, construction, and aerospace sectors, has decreased drastically. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the global automotive supply industry. Production and sales of motor vehicles have abruptly ceased in the majority of the world. Due to COVID-19, the aerospace and defence industry, a major end-user of the carbon fibre prepreg market, took a significant hit in 2020. Some aerospace manufacturing industry participants, including Boeing and Rolls-Royce, have even announced production cuts. COVID-19 has thus a negative effect on the carbon fibre prepreg market.
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Prime Influencing Factors
Rising demand for carbon fibre prepreg in end-user industries is the primary factor propelling market growth over the forecast period. In addition, the rising demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and the thriving investment in the renewable energy sector are contributing significantly to the growth of the carbon fibre prepreg market. Epoxy resin is the dominant segment in the carbon fibre prepreg market, and its dominance is anticipated to continue throughout the forecast period. Epoxy resin is suitable for applications in industries such as aerospace, defence, sports & leisure, and wind, among others, due to characteristics such as a high strength-to-weight ratio and improved heat corrosion and moisture resistance. As a result of the superior performance stability of carbon fibre prepreg compared to other conventional materials, the aerospace and defence industry is the leading end-use sector.
During the forecast period, North America is projected to hold the largest share of the global carbon fibre prepeg market, as well as the fastest growth rate. The increasing demand from the developed aerospace & defence and automobile industries for lightweight products will directly aid in enhancing the performance of a variety of products. The increasing use of carbon fibre prepreg in the production of military, commercial, and transport aircraft is also driving the regional market growth. In addition, the major automakers such as General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler contribute to the demand for carbon fibre prepreg in the region.
General Motors planned to use carbon fibre composites for the beds of full-sized pickup trucks in 2019 to reduce weight and improve fuel economy.
Asia-Pacific is another major region in the carbon fibre prepreg market, and it is anticipated to grow rapidly during the forecast period due to the region’s expanding automotive and aerospace industries. The increasing demand for energy has increased investments in renewable energy, particularly wind, which is a significant market driver in the region. The increasing installation of wind energy, particularly in India and China, has increased the demand for carbon fibre prepreg in the manufacture of wind turbine blades due to its enhanced durability and light weight.
The expansion of merger and acquisition activity and the introduction of new products have been identified as major trends driving market expansion. Global players are adopting a strategy of collaboration for product market penetration and expansion. Haydale Composite Solutions and SHD Composite Materials, for instance, have introduced three graphene-enhanced carbon fibre pre-impregnated products utilising epoxy resins from Huntsman Advanced Materials.