Glass fiber is a lightweight and durable fiber produced from very fine fibers of glass. As compared to carbon fibers, glass fibers exhibit low brittleness and the fibers of glass used for their production are more cost effective. Moreover, as compared to metals, the glass fibers are possess better properties, both strength wise and weight wise. Furthermore, the glass fibers can be smoothly formed using different molding techniques. Glass fibers are widely used as an important raw material for producing distinct types of composite materials. Manufacturing of glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites, the largest class of composite materials, is the most important application of glass fibers and almost 90% of the reinforcements used in the composites industry are glass fibers. GFRP composites are extensively used in a diverse range of industries including wind energy, construction, automotive, aerospace, piping and anti-corrosive industrial equipments. The growing demand for GFRP composites from transportation and construction industries is anticipated to drive the global glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites market in the next six years.
Asia Pacific and North America are the largest producers and consumers of glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites. Both these regions together account for more than 50% of the global market for glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites. The infrastructure development and growing construction industry in emerging economies such as China and India is anticipated to drive the demand for glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites in Asia Pacific in the next six years. The North American market for glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites is primarily driven by the growing demand from construction, automotive, aerospace, wind energy and defense industries in the U.S.
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Apart from glass fibers, thermoset resin is a very important raw material used for the production of GFRP composites. Polyester, a cost effective and uncomplicated material, is the dominant thermoset resin used in the manufacturing of GFRP composites. Polyester thermoset resins are vastly used in producing composite materials marine, piping and building and construction applications. In addition to glass fibers and resins, some typical materials are used as fillers are used in the production of composite materials for improving the physical properties of composite materials. The manufacturers of glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites are conducting extensive research and development activities for identifying the best range of raw materials that can be use for the production of optimum quality composite materials. Nowadays, thermoplastic resin is growingly used as a raw material in place of thermoset resin in the production GFRP composites. The use of thermoplastic resins as a raw material ultimately reduces the time and cost required to manufacture GFRP composites. Moreover, the thermoplastic resins offer higher impact strength and better surface finish to the composite materials. Furthermore, thermoplastic resins can be easily molded and can be recycled. The use of such innovative raw materials improves the quality of GFRP composites and therefore, drives the demand for GFRP composites in distinct industrial applications.
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Some of the major companies operating in the global glass fiber and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites market are Johns Manville, BGF Industries, Asahi Glass Company Limited, Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC, Chomarat Group, Jushi Group Co. Ltd., Taishan Fiberglass Inc., Owens Corning, PPG Industries Inc., Binani 3B-The Fibreglass Company, Saertex Group, Chongqing Polycomp International Corp., Saint-Gobain Vetrotex, Nitto Boseki Co. Ltd. and Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd.
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Mr. Sudip Saha