Carbon fiber composite heating elements are strong and light weight fiber-reinforced elements that contain carbon fiber. The most commonly used binding polymers for these composites are thermoset resins such as epoxies, however thermoset and thermoplastic polymers such as polyesters, vinyl esters, and nylon are also used as binding polymers. Also, the composites may contain aramids such as Kevlar, aluminum, or glass fiber apart from carbon fibers. The properties of the final carbon fiber composite heating product is affected by the type of additives that are introduced into the resin. The commonly used additive is silica and other additives such as rubber and carbon nanotubes are also used based on the application.
Carbon fiber composites are widely used in aerospace, sports goods, and transportation applications, owing to its high strength to weight ratio and exceptional mechanical properties. These factors are expected to drive growth of the global carbon fiber composite heating element market. Carbon fiber composites have good electrical conductivity and therefore, has led to increasing number of research and development activities in the field of electrically conductive fabrics. For instance, Thermion Systems International, a U.S.-based company developed a patented carbon fiber heating fabric that is used in the aerospace industry for the in-flight de-icing applications. Such applications of carbon fiber composite heating elements have led to the replacement of aluminum with carbon fiber composite heating elements in aerospace applications, as aluminum causes galvanic corrosion problems. However, high cost of carbon fiber composite heating elements is a major restraint that affects growth and size of the global market.
The industrial and consumer heaters are made from a mass produced laminate of carbon fiber composite heating elements that are used in numerous thermoplastics including PEEK and PEI amongst others. Carbon fiber composite heating elements are used to strengthen composite materials such as graphite secured polymers. A non-polymer material also acts as matrix for carbon fibers. Carbon fiber composite heating elements are also used in the filtration of gases at high temperature. The molding of a thin layer of carbon fiber heating element drastically improves the fire resistance properties of polymers or thermoset composites, as a dense layer of carbon fiber heating element reflects heat efficiently. The benefits of carbon fiber composite heating elements when compared with other heating elements such as wires or foils include even heating, high damage tolerances, lightweight, and lower thermal inertia. Unlike the foils or wire heater, carbon fiber composite heating elements do not become non-functional due to small local failures. This proves to be an important property for aerospace-based applications, where electro thermal heaters are used in the wings, propellers, and rotor blade de-icing. The ease of installation before and after manufacture, FOD (foreign objects damage) tolerances, higher controllability, and the ability to deliver required levels of heat to specific areas are factors that make carbon fiber composite heating elements ideal for use in ice protection systems.
Large number of research institutions are currently trying to synthesize carbon fiber composites from renewable, non-fossil fuel based feedstocks. For instance, the Energy Department announced up to US$ 11.3 million for two projects that aim to produce cost-efficient, high-performance carbon fiber material from renewable, non-food-based feedstock such as agricultural residues and woody biomass. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing of carbon fiber as well as long term production costs. Moreover, the French Air Force is currently testing the heaters for effective in-flight de-icing of aircraft and applications in development projects.
Europe is expected to hold dominant position in the carbon fiber composite heating elements market over the forecast period, owing to the presence of large number of manufacturers such as Airbus SE, Rolls Royce, Siemens AG, Boeing, and EasyJet.
Key players operating in the carbon fiber composite heating elements market include SGL Group, Flexel, Methode Electronics, Kunshan, JianTong, IR Technika, O-Yate, Yukang, Hongkang, Guoqiang, and Cheung Hing.
The global carbon fiber composite heating elements market is segmented as:
By Product Type:
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