Carbon fiber is a material made up of carbon atoms that are aligned parallel to the main axis of the fiber. The fibers are very thin in diameter, about 1/10th the size of a human hair. The crystal alignment makes the fiber very strong for its size. Thousands of carbon fibers are wound together to form yarn, which is used on the commercial level. Superior properties of carbon fiber such as high strength, high stiffness, low density, non-corrosiveness; electrical conductivity & chemical inertness makes it an ideal material in the plethora of applications. Carbon fibers are a key element in advanced composite materials, which are used in various applications such as aerospace, military, automotives, wind energy, sporting goods, and industrial applications.
Current technologies pertaining to manufacturing of carbon fiber are not suitable for volume production. Hence, immense R&D efforts are being carried out to identify alternate and more affordable raw materials along with alternate manufacturing technologies to facilitate mass production. Also, there have been a number of collaborations among carbon fiber producers and application users to exchange technical know-how to come up with mass production technologies.
The global market for carbon fiber is estimated to reach $2,515.4 million in 2016 from $1,701.9 million in 2010 at a CAGR of 5.9% from 2011 to 2016. The market of Asia-Pacific is driving the carbon fiber sales and is expected to hold 37.3% of the global market share in 2016. The APAC market is expected to experience a CAGR of 6.3% due to enhancements in production capacity by major players and high demand from industries such as sporting goods and industrial applications. North America is the second largest market with 34% of share in the global carbon fiber market and is also expected to grow with CAGR of 9% to reach 27.3 thousand tons in 2016.
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