The carbon composite revolution is marching on and
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The carbon composite revolution is marching on and
THE CARBON COMPOSITE REVOLUTION IS MARCHING ON
In the past few weeks we have seen an avalanche of announcements about
Carbon composite becoming commercial in automotive applications.
Automakers are focused towards using lightweight materials to build the
external and internal parts of vehicles in order to reduce the weight of the
vehicle, and, in turn, improve fuel efficiency. This is a major factor driving the
growth of the automotive composites market. Consumers are more inclined
towards purchasing lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles for environmental
reasons and still fear of potential increase of fuel prices.
This is influencing automakers towards investing in the R&D of lightweight
materials to manufacture the exterior as well as interior parts of the vehicle.
This reduces the overall weight of the vehicle, in turn, improving its fuel
efficiency. Composites with properties such as high tensile strength,
lightweight, good corrosion resistance and surface tension, and are easy to
process are ideal materials to manufacture lightweight vehicles with good fuel
efficiency. After working on biobased material the industry realized that
weight reduction is the key to better efficiency and more environmental
footprint. A major handicap for biobased or so called biodegradable plastic
that have a higher density thus are too heavy for this type of application.
In addition per capita vehicle ownership has increased, especially in
developing Asia-Pacific countries such as India and China. This is further
driving the use of carbon composite in the automotive industry for the
manufacture of lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles, in turn, driving the
automotive composite market to some extent. In 2013, there were 800
vehicles per 1,000 people in the U.S. compared to 600 vehicles per 1,000
people in Japan, 80 cars per 1,000 people in China, and 25 vehicles per 1,000
people in India. With a middle class to reach 475 Million in 2020 in China
(McKinsey-The Economist), you can expect a tremendous growth in the
demand for automotive. Asia-Pacific is the largest market for automotive
composites. Increasing domestic production of vehicle paired with increasing
disposable income is driving the automotive composites market in the Asia
Pacific region. One of the major factors contributing to the growth of the
automotive composites market in North America and Europe are stringent
CO2 emission rules in these
Here are a few very recent announcements:
A- Hankuk Carbon selected Solvay's tougheners for automotive applications.
Solvay’s impact modifiers enhance the toughness, heat resistance and
processability of a carbon fiber prepreg developed by Hankuk, a composites
manufacturer based in South Korea, for automotive fenders and roof
The prepreg is intended for use by a major U.S. automotive OEM for a
commercial automotive fender and roof application. Solvay’s broad offering of
such lightweighting solutions underscores the company’s proactive support of
the industry’s growing adoption of carbon composites.
According to the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation
(IACMI), fiber-reinforced polymer composites could help reduce the weight of
conventional passenger cars by 50 percent and improve fuel efficiency by
nearly 35 percent without compromising performance or safety. Fabricated
using advanced polymer technologies, composites also eliminate corrosion
and improve weather resistance vs. metal. They also require lower
Solvay’s Virantage polyethersulfone (PESU) tougheners can increase the
impact strength of thermoset composites parts by nearly 40 percent and
provide a step-change improvement in heat resistance. Because Virantage
PESU micropowders are compatible with a range of epoxy systems, they
disperse more quickly vs. conventional impact modifiers, thereby improving
processability and consistency in high-volume composite production. Already
widely used in prepreg production for commercial and military aircraft
applications, Virantage PESU tougheners are attracting increasing interest
from automotive engineers as an integral part of their vehicle lightweighting
strategy as they seek to meet emerging CO2 emission standards.
www.solvay.com - http://www.hcarbon.com
B- Mitsubishi Rayon to establish plant in Europe for producing carbon fiber
intermediate materials. Mitsubishi Rayon will build a new plant in Germany,
for producing SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) intermediate materials in
order to reinforce and expand its carbon fiber and composite materials
business in Europe. Mitsubishi has developed and turned into products high-
performance large-tow carbon fiber - suitable for automobile applications,
and quick-cure prepregs - intermediate materials with which elaborate
exterior panel parts can be press-molded in a short period of time.
C- Carbon composite wheel for automotive
Unveiled recently by Huntsman Advanced Materials, a hybrid wheel produced
by a well-established, tier one supplier to the performance car sector will save
up to 20% of weight against its aluminum competitors, says the company. The
wheel features an Araldite structural system CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced
Polymer) rim around an aluminum alloy center star. Developed using high-
pressure resin transfer molding process in its manufacture, it delivers the
necessary thermal and mechanical performance while, thanks to weight
reduction, releasing extra power or energy savings.
The exciting trend we see in all of these recent announcements is the creation
of a trend where carbon composite is not reserved any longer to aerospace or
racing cars or yachts but is entering daily consumers industries. This
innovative trend will reduce the cost of carbon composite and will allow
additional innovation in the years to come.
Libra6 Management, Corp. invests in Cleantech and alternative technology and is currently leading
an investment in California Carbon Industry