Aerospace materials are manufactured and designed to serve aerospace purposes. The materials are designed to withstand high pressures and temperatures, stress resistance, chemical resistance, durability and are also required to be lightweight. The most popular aerospace material is aluminum and has been used since the first plane was built by Wright Brothers. These materials, due to their high performance are also used in other industries and are advertised to emphasize their high performance characteristics.
The major driver for aerospace materials is increased demand for lightweight aircrafts to reduce fuel consumption. A rise in commercial aircraft manufacturing has intensified aerospace material demand. Moreover strict regulatory standards have boosted the need for high quality and high performance material. The major challenge is the steep maintenance cost of these materials.
Aerospace Materials Market Taxonomy
On basis of Material
- Aluminum Alloys
- 1000 series
- 2000 series
- 3000 series
- 4000 series
- 5000 series
- 6000 series
- 7000 series
- Carbon Steel
- Low carbon
- Medium carbon
- High carbon
- Ultra high carbon
- Alloy steel
- Stainless steel
- Tool steel
- Titanium Alloys
- Super Alloys
- Composite Materials
On basis of Aircraft
Aluminum is the most widely used material. Its light weight, high strength and high corrosion resistance properties make it a preferred choice over other alternatives such as steel which is heavier. Advanced steel alloys are used in production of gas turbine engines, landing equipment and other aero-structures. Titanium is used in jet engine parts due to its low density, high strength and corrosion resistance. Super Alloys and Composite Materials are gradually entering the market but require more R&D before being employed on a large scale.
The commercial aircraft segment is the largest market segment, with rise in air transportation due to increased domestic and inter-country travel.
Aerospace Materials Market Outlook
- North America is the largest market for aerospace materials due to high demand for commercial and military aircraft. The busiest airport in the world, Atlanta handled 106 million passengers in 2015. Aviation is the preferred mode of transport over rail and road transport. Moreover, the US announced a budget of US$ 166.9 Bn, which will includes plans for modernizing current fleet of aircraft. With ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and escalating tensions in Korean peninsula, spending on military aircraft is expected to continue during the forecast period.
- Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market. The region has seen the growth of transit hubs such as Changi Airport (Singapore), Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, Tokyo and Shanghai. Moreover increased domestic air travel and tourism has boosted the industry. Though major obstacles include high jet fuel prices and airport costs which cut into profits. Popular airlines such as Kingfisher (India), TransAsia (Taiwan) have shut down after suffering losses. Also, national carriers of India and Malaysia have posted high losses and are in debt.
- Middle East region is fast growing as a transit hub due to low fuel prices. The rise of carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways can be attributed to this. Though recent diplomatic tensions resulting in airspace restrictions for Qatari airlines indefinitely may drive down the market if the issue is not amicably resolved.
- Europe is a major aviation hub due to a large tourism industry. France attracted 83 million tourists in 2016, followed by Spain 75 million. Though, recent terror attacks in Paris resulted in a fall in tourists, but the trend is expected to reverse with increased policing and anti-terror activities in place. Increased military spending by EU countries is a result of tensions with Russia which will boost the military aircraft segment.
- Latin America has experienced a slowdown due to political turmoil in major markets of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Whereas Africa is expected to grow strongly over the forecast period due to strong economic growth in the region.
Toray Industries in 2017 merged with Toray Composites and Toray Carbon fibers to create a single business entity. The merged entity Toray Composite Materials America is expected to increase efficiency across the supply and product chains.
- In August 2019, Teijin Limited acquired all the shares of a leading supplier of high heat resistant thermoset prepeg for the aerospace industries – Renegade Materials Corporation. This acquisition will enhance Teijin’s production capabilities for high temperature prepeg materials majorly used in the manufacturing of aircraft engine parts.
- Various companies participates in different events and exhibitions in order to promote their product portfolio and enhance customer base. For instance, in June 2019, Toray Industries participated in the world’s largest aerospace industry exhibition – Paris Air Show. In the exhibition, Toray Industries demonstrated their performance advancements in TORAYCA® T1100 Carbon Fiber.
- In May 2019, Huntsman Corporation launched new adhesives and composites systems EPOCAST 1648 and EPOCAST 1649 for aircraft interior construction. The products offer low density, fast cure, and meet flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) requirements. The material will find application in ditch potting, insert potting, edge filling, and reinforcement of honeycomb structures.
- In 2017, Hexcel Corporation acquired Structil SA, French based manufacturer of high performance composites for aerospace, defense and industrial markets. Company’s product portfolio includes prepregs, structural adhesives and pultruded profiles used in aerospace interiors, engine nacelles, military jets etc
- In October 2015, Alcoa Corporation signed a contract worth 1 Billion USD for high tech, multi-material aerospace fastening systems with Airbus.
The major players in the market are Toray Industries, Inc., Alcoa Corporation, Solvay Group, Du Pont, Teijin Limited, ATI Metals, and Constellium N.V.