Author Archives: Ross Kozarsky

Case Closed: Graphene Is the Next Carbon Nanotube

Despite graphene’s exceptional properties – and endless proselytizing by academia, industry, and media alike, of its wunderkind material status – Lux has consistently articulated a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the material’s concrete commercial potential. In our 2012 report “Is Graphene the Next Silicon…Or Just the Next Carbon Nanotube?” (client registration required), we examined the interplay between graphene’s compelling performance properties as an advanced material, and the significant hurdles it would inevitably face transitioning from the lab to the marketplace. As background, one look at the rocky history of graphene’s older carbon cousin, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), shows that a research and patent boom along with impressive technical performance is far from a guarantee of commercial success (client registration required). In fact, we’ve long encouraged participants in the graphene space to view their MWNT predecessors as a lesson to be mindful of – a case study with trials and tribulations on display to be learned from rather than repeated (client registration required). However, our ongoing monitoring of this landscape has made it increasingly clear that graphene looks much closer to the next carbon nanotube than the next silicon, and here’s why:

  • Over-aggressive capacity expansions coupled with limited commercial demand exacerbate current supply glut. Total global graphene nanoplatelet (GNP) capacity has increased from 120 tons/yr in 2012 to 910 tons/yr today, driven largely by aggressive Chinese capacity expansions such as by Ningbo Morsh [(300 tons/yr) client registration required], and Xiamen Knano [(100 tons/yr) client registration required]. On the contrary, demand growth has been significantly more sluggish, such that current GNP demand has yet to exceed 15% of the current supply (client registration required). What’s more, this metric does not even include significant capacity expansions still in progress by the likes of The Sixth Element (client registration required), and Deyang Carbonene Technology (client registration required). Beyond such depressing return on supplier investment calculations, when this overcapacity is considered in addition to the billions of commercial investment in the material by governments and multinationals – such as EU’s Graphene Flagship, National University of Singapore’s Graphene Research Centre (client registration required), and South Korea’s approved roadmap for graphene commercialization – graphene’s severe under-performance to live up to the massive hype becomes even more pronounced.

Analyst Insight Graphic_7_5_15

  • Most developers are long shots with unproven technical value and business execution. Other than a select few, the GNP space is flooded with undistinguished suppliers. While it is worth noting that longtime market leader XG Sciences (client registration required) continues to maintain momentum by receiving investment from Samsung Ventures (client registration required) and will work with Samsung SDI on next-generation Li-ion batteries for consumer electronics, such positive commercial traction is an exception rather than the norm. In fact, the Long-shot quadrant of the Lux Innovation Grid (LIG) has become so dense that we struggled to squeeze in the names of all these start-ups with unproven technical value and business execution. Even once-promising developers like Angstron Materials (client registration required) have lost shine because of inability to provide cost and performance data around completed storage cells, questionable value proposition, and long road to commercial products. What’s more, many Chinese GNP suppliers have been forced to sell their products below cost to attract the interest of industry players and offload excess capacity (client registration required).

Analyst Insight Graphic3_7_5_15

  • Lack of concrete performance metrics demonstrating true value proposition in most segments. While the touted exceptional properties of as-synthesized graphene are no doubt a delight to lab researchers and misguided major media outlets, the material in raw powder form is a far cry from commercial product-ready. As with MWNTs and other nanomaterials, the ability to maintain the performance of graphene when the material is dispersed in a matrix is a major challenge. What’s more, agglomeration and viscosity issues limit the practical loading of graphene as a primary reinforcement or additive in many applications. As such, the most salient metrics evaluating graphene’s true commercial value proposition are that of a final device or product (e.g. composite part, battery, supercapacitor, transparent conductive film [TCF]) containing the material, and on this front graphene is sorely lacking. And lest we forget, not only do graphene products have to prove themselves on performance, but they need be compelling enough to justify their higher upfront price tags. As one telling example, Lux’s Energy Storage team has found that despite the hype around graphene as a material to displace activated carbon in supercapacitors, graphene will lag behind other active materials and will struggle to beat incumbents (client registration required).

While the aforementioned market dynamics certainly present a bleak picture for those seeking to make money from selling the raw material, multinationals may view the space through the lens of arbitrage opportunities and leverage the looming market shakeout to scoop up developers (or their technology portfolios) on the cheap. Similarly, the GNP supply glut will increasingly present attractive, low-price opportunities for downstream application developers. However, such application developers need to be confident they possess the internal expertise to bring graphene to commercial success in target markets, unlike Bayer MaterialScience’s doomed fate in MWNTs, for instance, in which the company’s lack of internal activities in composites and batteries were a major hindrance to the commercialization of its nanomaterials (client registration required).

Finally, it would be a disservice to graphene film developers to entirely lump them in with their GNP peers. While GNP developers indeed appear poised to repeat the trajectory of their older MWNT cousins, graphene film start-ups, on the other hand, have shifted strategy. While initial hype and attention on graphene film application development focused on TCF segments like displays and touch screens, in the past two years there has been a pivot among developers to sensors to spur revenue growth (client registration required). For instance, Graphene Frontiers (client registration required) has positioned itself as a sensor (rather than graphene) developer (client registration required for each). While this pivot to selling sensor devices rather than raw graphene indicates a maturation from a business model standpoint, inducing a bandgap in graphene is not trivial, and developers may ultimately find this segment even more challenging to penetrate than TCFs. Regardless, it is at least heartening to observe start-ups reacting to struggles (in this case finally realizing besting incumbents like ITO and other emerging material options like silver nanowires and metal nanoparticles is a daunting challenge) and devising new strategies that take into account critical lessons from the past. Just don’t expect graphene to live up to the untenable hype, or become the next silicon.

For Those Looking for the Furthest Tangible Advanced Functionality in Coatings…


Coatings have long been used to protect and enhance surfaces as mundane as walls to the most critical industrial equipment. More recently, advances in nanotechnology and materials science have enabled advanced functionalities such as hydrophobicity and self-healing, while researchers strive to enable next generation coatings to dynamically react to their environment. While self-healing coatings still have their own scale-up and cost issues to be solved, it is the technologies that can sense or change properties with some external stimulus that represent the new frontier for those looking to be ahead of the coatings technology curve.

Industries which have high costs associated with part failure or have catastrophic outcomes when parts fail, such as oil and gas, defense, and aerospace, stand to benefit the most from sensing coatings. Sensing functionality needs to be integrated into protective coatings to be most valuable; however, many of the methods used at lab scale may reduce the protective function as they disrupt the continuity of the polymer matrix. Implementation will require balancing these effects in addition to finding cost-effective and scalable solutions. There are interesting developments however, with some of the key developers including Yonsei University, the University of Aveiro and the University of Manchester, providing a range of approaches while defense interests are also active. New methods of alerting users, such as the U.S. Army’s strong-smelling damage-sensing coating, have potential to enable early detection of coating failure that does not require active inspection. That said, the use cases need to be understood by application and even a basic heat map can help navigate to opportunity and avoid missteps. Sensing coatings that use color change or fluorescence that require active inspection and clear line of sight will have their place, but they’ll be unsuitable for many applications like pipe interiors.

In a different class of coatings, dynamic control of functionalities could potentially have disruptive impact by replacing or enhancing actuated systems. Properties like dynamic adhesion — switching between hydrophobic and hydrophilic states — are already being worked on by labs in the U.S. (Sandia National Lab, Carnegie Mellon), Asia (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Seoul National University) and Europe (the University of Surrey). Properties like switchable friction could replace or enhance gripping systems in industrial applications. Unlike sensing coatings, dynamic coatings don’t need to deliver on protective ability as they will likely fall into new roles (rather than replace existing coatings), with an obvious fit to medical applications due to its strong fit with many of the chemical stimuli methods like pH. While the broad promise of dynamic coatings will attract R&D teams, those needing timelines to revenue should know that most dynamic coatings rely on physical and polymeric systems that are expensive and difficult to scale, and the current difficulty in creating these systems, coupled with their extreme immaturity, makes commercial impact a long way off.

For companies looking to push the limits of coatings technology, the technical approaches are already apparent and there to be integrated into core R&D efforts for those with the talent, patience and joint development DNA to advance the ball.

Breaking Down HP’s Announcement on 3D Printing Reveals Paper-thin Claims

Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently released a white paper detailing its planned 3D printer. HP’s “Multi Jet Fusion” system claims a tenfold increase in build speed, improved part quality with controllable properties like color, elasticity and strength, and better “economics” than current offerings. The printer functions by inkjet printing binder into a bed of powdered thermoplastic, though the company claimed this technology could ultimately print metals and ceramics. HP’s accompanying press release said the printers would be available in 2016.

Along with its decision to split into two companies, this move into the 3D printing space would appear geared at turning around the company’s financial fortunes and reversing a declining culture of innovation. However, while others have focused on offering investment advice or lauding the move as primed to radically change manufacturing, a closer reading of the white paper reveals several holes in HP’s performance claims, in several key areas:

  • Speed and part precision. HP is not the first to try to improve printer throughput. Technologies like Loughborough University’s High Speed Sintering (HSS) printer have achieved similar tenfold improvement in print speed over selective laser sintering (SLS) printers. However, the tradeoff is part precision, as printed parts require post-processing to achieve the same surface smoothness as SLS parts. HP’s printer will likely also require post-processing to achieve similar results.
  • Part properties. HP’s white paper contains a laundry list of impressive properties that the new printer will be able to control: surface roughness, friction, opacity, color, and electrical and thermal conductivity. There is a catch, however: Reading the footnotes reveals that these are just possibilities, and not all have been selected for inclusion in the first generation of printers. At this time, HP has only demonstrated parts with multiple colors. Until more information is revealed, it seems that color printing is the only capability that will make it into the 2016 model printers.
  • Economics. Again, reading the footnotes proves to be critical to understanding HP’s claims. HP compares its offerings to SLS printers like those of 3D Systems (client registration required) or EOS (client registration required), that range in price from $200,000 (polyamide printer) to $1.2 million (polyketone printer). Given that it has chosen SLS as its benchmark, HP’s printers could cost into the low hundreds of thousands of dollars and still be considered “economical.” Meanwhile, companies like Z Corp (now owned by 3D Systems) offer printers cheaper than $40,000, which would make HP’s look far less favorable in comparison. What’s more, HP gives no estimate of material or binder costs, a critical input for total cost of ownership.

Despite these significant questions regarding the value proposition of the Multi Jet Fusion, HP’s entry into the 3D printing space remains significant as it is sure to attract attention and catalyze innovation and investment activity industry-wide. The giant company’s vast network and distribution channels could help accelerate growth of the entire space. Additionally, HP’s core technology is amenable to multi-material printing, which if properly developed could significantly expand the possibilities of printed objects.

HP’s statement that it “is inviting creative collaboration in materials for 3D printing” is on the surface encouraging, as it appears to eschew the closed materials business models employed by today’s leading printer companies that thwart 3D printable material development (see the report “How 3D Printing Adds Up: Emerging Materials, Processes, Applications, and Business Models” — client registration required). However, HP’s “Frequently Asked Questions” accompaniment reveals that “HP aims to lead the market by developing new 3D print materials, using color, biocompatible, ceramic, metal, and other materials” – implying its invitation of creative collaboration is likely just a euphemism for the shortsighted razor/blade business models already employed by the likes of 3D Systems, Stratasys, and EOS that prioritize next quarter’s profits over innovation and long term growth. HP would be well served focusing on refining its hardware technology and demonstrating concrete improvements on price or performance, and leaving material development to material experts, much like electron beam melting (EBM) pioneer Arcam (client registration required) did to accelerate its commercial traction in aerospace and medical production applications. Until then, HP’s claims of revolutionizing the 3D printing space will remain as flimsy as the paper they are printed on.

Bringing Reality to the Hype, the Total Graphene Market Set for a Modest $126 Million in 2020

Graphene has been touted as the next wunderkind material for the better part of this millennium, due to its exceptional mechanical, electronic, and thermal properties. However, one look at the rocky history of carbon nanotubes shows that a research and patent boom along with impressive technical performance is far from a guarantee of commercial success, as major challenges like high costs, processing issues, and competing emerging material classes loom large. What’s more, a slew of recent capacity expansion announcements threaten to throw the space into oversupply. At times when the hype bandwagon is easy to jump on, assessment of the leading developers, the current value proposition on offer versus application needs, and progress in scale-up always provide a data-driven dose of realism.

Our results reveal that the aggregate graphene market will grow from a base of $9 million in 2012  to only $126 million in 2020. Composites and energy storage will duke it out for GNP supremacy, while conductive opaque inks and anti-corrosion coatings also provide meaningful volumes. Despite the hot pursuit by start-ups and multinationals alike, adoption of graphene-based transparent conductive films (TCFs) will be delayed by a slew of technical and economic challenges, growing to just $6 million in 2020. As graphene developers continue to wrestle with the material’s exceptional properties but bevy of commercialization hurdles, savvy developers will move down the graphene value chain into graphene intermediates and products in order to garner wider profit margins and larger potential revenues. In addition, to succeed financially and avoid getting downtrodden by a looming oversupply situation, developers need to focus on ‘drop-in’ opportunities where value proposition exists versus incumbent carbon materials. In the long run, if the multifunctional capabilities of the material – including modulus, electrical and thermal conductivity, transparency, impermeability, and elasticity – can be combined in an economic and scalable manner, it could serve as an enabling platform for novel uses ranging from tissue engineering to flexible optoelectronic devices.

The focus needs to remain on a mix of creative R and disciplined D. The material in its current commercial state, don’t buy the hockey sticks the beneficiaries of hype are pitching.

Source: Lux Research report “Is Graphene the Next Silicon … Or Just the Next Carbon Nanotube?” — client registration required.

CFRP Innovators Should Ready Themselves for a Fall in Best-In-Class Carbon Fiber Costs

Due to the high cost and other technical hurdles for these advanced composite materials, their use has been restricted to high-end niche applications. Nevertheless, CFRPs are dropping in cost and starting to progress beyond sporting goods and defense applications and into the commercial realm of aerospace, wind, and automotive uses. Aerospace and wind dominate on a volume and revenue basis today, but material costs remain an issue for CFRPs to win the big automotive volumes.

Opportunities exists throughout the automotive value chain to drive cost out of CFRPs, starting with the fiber itself. Ambitious automotive targets include reducing fiber cost to half of today’s $21.2/kg requiring innovations among different steps of the synthesis process to be combined. The industry’s best shot at achieving the carbon fiber price reduction necessary for high-volume applications like automotive, is the employment of polyolefin-precursor carbon fiber combined with atmospheric pressure plasma oxidation and microwave-assisted plasma carbonization, which will yield a pilot-scale cost of $10.5/kg in 2017.

How will this impact the total CFRP market? It will reach $36 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 13% from its base of $14.6 billion in 2012, with demand for carbon fiber rising from 35,000 MT to 110,000 MT. Within this aggregate, aerospace and wind will continue to duke it out for supremacy. In contrast, while the foreseeable innovations that will advance high-volume automotive uses are there, their later in the decade realization pushes substantial volume beyond 2020. The opportunity is clear for innovative materials companies to position for predicted CFRP cost reductions and experience growth in the 10 year timeframe or deliver enabling technology that can bring this date forward.

To learn more about this topic, join us for the upcoming webinar, “Stronger, Lighter, Cheaper, Better: Harnessing the Power of Carbon Fiber” on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 11 am EDT

RocTool’s Latest Concoction, Overmolding Now an Option

We recently caught up with Mathieu Boulander, VP of Business Development at molding process developer RocTool. The company recently announced the addition of overmolding to its Integrated Internal Induction Technologies (3iTech) for forming mixed composite and plastic parts. Introduced in 2009, 3iTech uses induction to locally heat the surface of a magnetic steel mold. Heating a smaller volume makes it more practical to operate at higher temperatures, enabling faster cycle times, improved surface quality, and thinner parts, while eliminating the need for preheating and pre-consolidation. The new “hybrid” technology is a two-step process: a thermoplastic composite is compression-molded and an unfilled plastic is subsequently injection-overmolded. The result is a multi-material part that does not need to be trimmed or surface-finished.

RocTool faces a few strong competitors in this emerging area: FiberForge’s (Client registration required) automated tape-laying system has a long list of existing technology partners, heavyweight Teijin has incorporated a proprietary welding process (Client registration required), and Cutting Dynamics’ unique hydroforming process is also notable. However, each uses either thermoforming, pressure forming, or hydroforming – processes limited in design capabilities when used alone. RocTool’s integrated overmolding greatly expands design flexibility, while maintaining reasonable cycle times of two to four minutes; and the company’s 40 licensees – including Flextronics, SABIC (Client registration required), Engel, and Azdel – are evidence that the composites industry considers these benefits desirable and cost-effective. The one caveat is that the finished part will not entirely be continuous fiber-reinforced composite, which could mean cost savings for some applications but reduced performance for others. Although consumer electronics is currently its primary application focus, BMW has been a partner since 2005, and the improved cycle times and design flexibility offered by RocTool’s novel process technology may help it find further traction in automotive lightweighting (see the report “Under the Hood: Mapping Automotive Innovations to Megatrends.” Client registration required).

XG Sciences’ Capacity Expansion Threatens to Throw Graphene into Oversupply

Last week at the Lux Executive Summit in Boston, we caught up with Mike Knox, CEO of leading graphene nanoplatelet (GNP) developer XG Sciences registration required). XG has enjoyed a slew of partnership announcements as of late – Hanwha Chemical in December 2010, Posco in June 2011, and Cabot (Client registration required) in November 2011 – which will no doubt play a significant role in its expansion and commercialization efforts. Mike said the company is currently moving into a new East Lansing, MI, facility, which he expects to come online by July 1 of this year, increase production capacity to 80 tons per year, and reduce costs to $40-$50 per kilogram. He added that this expansion will not change XG Sciences’ business model or target applications, as the company still aims to sell GNP dry bulk powder, dispersions, and masterbatches into composite and energy storage markets.

With fellow GNP supplier Angstron Materials (Client registration required) already on the books to increase capacity from 25 tons per year to 100-300 tons per year for 2012, XG’s expansion efforts threaten to push the market for GNPs into an oversupply situation, much like its carbon cousin multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs). (See the report “Carbon Fiber and Beyond: The $26 Billion World of Advanced Composites.” Client registration required). Such a scenario and concomitant cost reduction may benefit industrial users. But leading MWNT suppliers like Bayer MaterialScience (Client registration required) can attest to the fact that oversupply is an anathema for a developer’s ability to become profitable. The reason is because low capacity utilization hinders the ability to recoup capital equipment investment expenses.

Even so, XG’s proficiency in leveraging its portfolio of strategic partners to increase commercial traction will be critical to its long-term success. Interested investors should stay tuned and submit feed questions, as we will soon be reaching out to XG for an updated briefing.

Advanced Structural Materials Vie for Dominance in Automotive Components

The transportation sector commands nearly one-third of global energy demand, which translates into a vast swath of energy saving opportunities. The most promising avenue to tap these opportunities is to enhance operating efficiency with lighter structural materials – including advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), aluminum (Al), magnesium (Mg), and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).

This week’s graphic comes from a recent Lux Research report, in which analysts conducted decision-tree analyses of where these materials are most likely to flourish in automotive (shown here) and aerospace over the next decade.

Material selection depends on the performance requirements of a component’s location and functional role in the automobile. These roles generally fall into one of three categories: body and exterior, interior, and powertrain.

For example, body and exterior applications rely heavily on AHSS and Al, and will continue to rely on them in the future. Both materials are sturdily entrenched in primary structure applications, including the front rails and crash boxes, pillars, door beams, and chassis. All of these parts must meet extremely rigorous safety standards for high ductility and elongation, and AHSS and Al meet these standards.

Al shines in exterior automotive components that must deliver top aesthetics, a Class A surface finish, and resistance to corrosion. While technical improvements are expected across all materials, Al is the current and future leader for the roof, hood, decklid, body panel outers, outer bumpers, fender, and door outers.

AI also leads the pack for non-primary structural body components that do not require a Class A finish, including floor panels, roof panels and rack, and the structural inners of the body panels, door, trunk, hood, and decklid. AHSS is also well-established in this category. But, CFRP is gaining due to its extremely high specific stiffness, which allows for construction of thinner components.

Opportunities await Mg in the interior of the vehicle, where semi-structural components – including parts of the seat, the instrument panel support beam, and the backseat head panel – are not in the primary crash path, and therefore do not require the same ductility and inspection requirements as exterior parts. But, the familiarity and lower pricepoints of AHSS and Al will make these current frontrunners difficult to overtake.

Lastly, for powertrain components demanding high thermal stability, Al leads the way, but Mg is hot on its tail. The battery box, engine cradle, engine mounts, and transmission tunnel all need to withstand hot engine temperatures without losing their strength and structure. AHSS and Al are the current frontrunners. But Al’s lighter weight gives it the edge. While high performance thermoplastics allow them to survive higher temperatures, they are generally too expensive for the auto industry’s taste. Mg’s comparatively higher price tag has given it a slow start as well. But its adequate high temperature performance, light weight, and anticipated processing improvements and cost reductions will increase its traction in this segment in the years to come.

Source: Lux Research report “Structural Navigation: Optimizing Materials Selection in Automotive and Aerospace.”

3M’s new glass bubbles plant in Brazil offers intriguing options for advanced composites

We recently caught up with Dr. M. Belen Urquiola, Laboratory Manager of 3M’s Energy and Advanced Materials Division, to discuss 3M’s recent opening of a new plant in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil to make glass bubbles – hollow soda-lime-borosilicate glass microspheres. The low density, high compressive strength, and enhanced insulation properties of these glass bubbles gave them early traction in the oil and gas industry, where they serve as fillers for pipe insulation and buoyancy modules, as well as additives in drilling fluids and cement. Thus, 3M’s decision to locate the new plant in Brazil comes as no surprise, as the country is projected to have the highest annual growth in the coming decades for the production of hydrocarbons.

Outside of oil and gas, 3M is also targeting structural composite applications for its glass bubbles in automotive, aerospace, sporting goods, and construction. Belen said glass bubbles already find use in mainstream automotive applications. When asked to compare glass bubbles to glass fibers, she described these two reinforcements as synergistic rather than competitive technologies. For instance, the directional nature of fibers results in composites with anisotropic properties, but the spherical nature of bubbles compensates and can lead to more isotropic structures. In addition to dimensional stability, hybrid compositions are more amenable to formulating multifunctional composites combining mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties.

While fiber reinforcements have an intrinsic advantage in tensile strength due to their tubular geometry, the enhancement in compressive properties offered by glass bubbles is important for deep-sea applications. One intriguing potential application for a hybrid bubble-fiber composite is in oil and gas risers, which are typically steel-based and serve as the subsea conduit between the offshore drilling rig surface and drilling equipment down in the wellbore (see the report “Tapping the Advanced Materials Reservoir: Coatings, Composites, and Additives in Oil and Gas“). Not only do risers need to be strong, they also need to be flexible enough to withstand the constant dynamic forces in the subsea environment. Moreover, while the interior of risers must withstand extremely hot and often corrosive production fluids, the external surface must cope with ice-cold, high-salinity water – especially in arctic locations. A plastic composite employing both glass fiber and bubble reinforcements is a potentially great alternative for steel in this application – offering enhancements in tensile and compressive strength, flexibility, and insulation. While industry conservatism and an ability to get by on steel have thus far made oil and gas a laggard in the advanced composites market (see the report “Carbon Fiber and Beyond: The $26 Billion World of Advanced Composites“), new composite formulations have the potential to increase traction. Lux will continue to monitor further developments in this space.

Wind and aerospace lead demand for advanced composite materials

This week’s Graphic comes from Lux Research’s recent report forecasting market growth for advanced composites based on carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes, and graphene. All told, the combined market is on track to expand from $7.0 billion this year to $25.8 billion in 2020 – an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16%.

As illustrated, most future growth will be powered by wind turbine applications that, thanks to increasingly strict renewable energy standards and a shift towards larger offshore installations, are on track to supplant aerospace’s historic role as lead adopter. The report predicts wind energy applications will balloon from $2.5 billion in 2011 to $15.4 billion in 2020, a CAGR of 23%.

Even so, the market for aerospace composites will also gain altitude – largely on the wings of Boeing’s successful 787 Dreamliner. The aerospace industry’s willingness to pay a price premium to reduce weight gave it an early start as the leading adopter (and developer) of novel structural materials. Yet, as wind applications become the dominant driver of future growth, aerospace composites will still see a healthy average CAGR of 13% – rising from $2.1 billion in 2011 to $6.3 billion in 2020.

While slim industry margins and long development timelines have slowed the automotive industry’s adoption of advanced composites, it will see the second largest average industry CAGR at 17%. That aside, revenues will actually only grow from $519 million in 2011 to $2.1 billion in 2020.

Oil & gas will also see relatively slow growth due to the end market’s inherent conservatism and its happiness to “get by” on conventional steel. The market will see a modest 5% CAGR from $273 million in 2011 to $427 million in 2020. Lastly, while sporting goods consumers are willing to pay for higher performance, they do not represent a volume driver. Total market size for sporting goods will remain steady at around $1.5 billion throughout the decade.

Source: Lux Research report “Carbon Fiber and Beyond: The $26 Billion World of Advanced Composite.”