The aerospace industry consumes an estimated 565 million lbs of raw materials including aluminum, composites, glare, steel, titanium and other materials, reports a new E-Composites market study, "Opportunities for Composites in the Global Aerospace Industry 2004-2010." Composite materials currently represent a relatively small segment of the aerospace industry, underscoring the enormous potential for demand of composites in the future. Aluminum is currently the dominant material used in the aerospace industry, however, due to increased demand for highly fuel-efficient aircrafts, aerospace companies are likely to continue to show significant interest in composite materials in future years.
Historically, the use of composites over the last 30 years has evolved from less than 5% in the Boeing 737 and 747 to over 17% in the Airbus A320. The Airbus A320 which was launched in 1990, uses approximately 17% composites and 66% aluminum. The Boeing 787 (former 7E7), which is scheduled to be delivered in 2008, will use about 50% composites by structural weight, and will be 20% more fuel efficient than similar-sized planes, due, in part, to advancements in composite materials technology. The Airbus A380 is expected to use more than 20% composites per aircraft.
According to this comprehensive E-Composites research study, composite materials in the aerospace market are forecast to grow over 10% annually during 2005-2010. "The defense industry as well as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 380 will provide the source for much of the demand for composite materials over the forecast period," said Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, E-Composites' founder and CEO. "The global aerospace industry is estimated to use $4.6 billion worth of composite materials during 2005-2010. During this period, the global end product market for composites including radome, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, flaps, floors, bulk heads, etc. is projected to reach $27 billion," said Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar.