Technical advancements in polymers have created a revolution in the aerospace industry. Aircraft plastics are becoming more ubiquitous in the aerospace industry due to its extra beneficial characteristic properties. Aircraft plastics play an important role in the overall weight reduction of an aircraft, thus making it safer, lighter and relatively more economical. The consumption of carbon fiber reinforced plastics, glass reinforced plastics and aramid reinforced plastic is expected to witness significant growth owing to its unique characteristics coupled with rapidly growing aviation industry. Technical polymers contribute to a vital extent in making the applications more competitive and efficient in various industrial fields. The aerospace industry creates high demands for polymers and other aircraft materials. The extraordinary properties of high-performance polymers and plastics include fire-resistant behavior and low weight. The nose, tail plane, aircraft fairing components, wings, airframe and fuselage are made up of a large number of polymer materials. These materials have efficient mechanical and thermal properties coupled with better resistance to aging. Since plastics are deployed in making seats, cooling systems, lighting systems, on-board kitchen and oxygen supply system, disposal systems, drinking water system and freight loading facilities, supplementary specifications including fungus test, FDA and drinking water approvals are required from various organizations.
Material engineering is crucial in aerospace engineering and this practice is defined by international bodies that manage and maintain standards for the processes and materials involved. Each extra pound added to a plane weight, in turn, adds energy costs and thus money. The use of reinforcing fibers and polymers to achieve lightweight structures and fuel savings is a key factor driving the aircraft plastics market. Plastics are 50% lighter than other metal alloys such as aluminum and titanium and do not usually corrode. By using plastics in making aircraft structures, a high degree of freedom in design can be achieved. Plastics having customized sliding properties are mostly used under extreme conditions since transparent plastics are lighter and impact resistant as compared to glass.
Increasing growth of the aircraft industry, especially in Asia-Pacific and Middle East is anticipated to fuel the growth of global aircraft plastics market. Increasing air traffic in defense and commercial aerospace segments is a key factor responsible for the significant aircraft plastics market growth in Europe and North America. Moreover, government regulations for the use of aircraft plastics coupled with high financial support are some major reasons anticipated to drive the global aircraft plastics market. Rapid growth in the aerospace industry owing to its strength to weight ratio as well as rising adoption of aircraft plastics in aerospace industry are some of the key factors driving the aerospace plastics market. Various organizations like Environmental Protection Agency and Greenpeace impose regulations on the production and manufacturing processes of aircraft plastics which is a key factor hampering the growth of global aircraft plastics market. In addition, high cost of raw materials required in manufacturing of aircraft plastics act as a major limiting factor to the growth of the global aircraft plastics market. Also, strict regulations for petro based polymer products are expected to hinder the availability of raw materials. Various, aircraft manufacturers use thermoplastic composites and metal alloys in aircraft structures to decrease fuel emission and ensure passenger comfort.
The global aircraft plastics market can be segmented on the basis of applications, end-use industry and geography. On the basis of applications, the global aircraft plastics market can be segmented into wings and rotor blades, empennage, cabin areas, flight deck and cockpit, airframe and fuselage and others (wing box, engine etc.). By end-use industry, the global aircraft plastics market can be segmented into general aviation, military aircrafts, and commercial aircrafts. Geographically, the global aircraft plastics market can be divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Key players involved in the manufacture of aircraft plastics include Ensinger GmbH, Hexcel Corporation, SABIC, Toho Tenax Company Limited, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited, Premium Aerotec, HITCO Carbon Composites Inc., Tech-Pool Plastics, Cytec Industries Inc. and Zoltec Companies Inc. among others.