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The global carbon fibre market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% over the next eight years, rising from a valuation of $10.25 billion in 2012, to hit a market value of $25.2 billion by 2020.
The existence of carbon fibre came into being in 1879 when Edison took out a patent for the manufacture of carbon filaments suitable for use in electric lamps. However, it was in the early 1960s when successful commercial production started, as the requirements of the aerospace industry for better and lightweight materials became of paramount importance.
In recent decades, carbon fibres have found wide applications in commercial aircraft, recreational, industrial, and transportation markets as technologies became mature and as the prices of carbon fibre came down.
The global carbon fibre market has grown in importance over the last few years, and carbon fibres are now used in a variety of application industries as varied as aerospace, wind energy, automotive and civil engineering.
Their popularity is due to the fact that they have superior characteristics to traditional materials, including enhanced stiffness, low weight, improved chemical resistance, and temperature tolerance.
Carbon fibre manufacturing is very concentrated: six companies produce nearly 93% of the world's supply. These are: Toray (30%), Toho (18%), Mitsubishi (18%), Zoltek (17%), Hexcel (7%), and Cytec (3%).
The world's largest producers typically make about $10-20 million per million pounds of annual capacity, or roughly $6,500 per composite autobody.
The five latest capacity expansions announced by these companies by mid-2011 will account for 35.6 million pounds of added capacity over the next four years.
For more information on the global carbon fibre market, see the latest research: Global Carbon Fibre Market
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