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Lightweight Materials in Transportation

Global lightweight materials market to reach value of $153 billion in the transportation industry by 2017

The market for lightweight materials in transportation was valued at $106 billion in 2011 and nearly $106.2 billion in 2012. Total market value is expected to reach nearly $153 billion in 2017 after increasing at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 7.5%. The volume for lightweight materials in transportation should reach 57.2 million tons in 2012 and 79.2 million tons in 2017, a CAGR of 6.7%.

While transportation fuel consumption is not exclusively a function of weight, with other factors such as engine efficiency and air/rolling resistance playing their parts as well, minimizing weight through the use of advanced materials is a key strategy for reducing fuel consumption. An estimated 75% of vehicle energy consumption is related to factors associated with weight.

Reducing the weight of a vehicle component by using lightweight materials has a multiplier effect on overall vehicle weight and, hence, fuel use: As vehicle weight declines, tires and suspension can become lighter, and the loads imposed on the chassis are reduced, allowing a reduction in chassis weight. All else being equal, it has been estimated that for every 10% eliminated from a vehicles total weight, fuel consumption declines by 7%. In addition, for every kilogram of weight reduced in a vehicle, carbon-dioxide emissions are reduced by a total of 20 kg.

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