Flame Retardants for Aerospace Plastics market size is estimated to reach US$ 21.2 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period 2022-2027. Flame retardants are chemical compounds that are added to polymers like polyphthalamide, epoxy resin, carbon fiber reinforced polymer to make them fire-resisting. The plastics made with the integration of such flame retardants like aluminum hydroxide with polymers make it withstand high temperature, hence making it ideal for an aerospace application that requires high-temperature resistance in outer space. Some plastic like Carbon fiber reinforced plastics is a major user of flame retardants and it has various aerospace applications from the cockpit to the empennage. Hence drivers for flame retardant for an aerospace plastic market that positively impacts its growth are rapid demand for lightweight & cost-effective material in aerospace applications, growing safety concerns relating to the flammability of aerospace components made from conventional materials like metal, wood. However, as the flame retardants are highly toxic, so therefore the regulations imposed by the government organizations like U.S Environment Protection Agency relating to their usage have hampered the growth of flame retardants for aerospace plastics industry.
COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted the flame retardant for the aerospace plastic market on a global level, as the restrictions and lockdown imposed by governments all across the globe caused a shortage of labor, decrease in the supply of spare parts due to import-exports restriction, and shutdown of various production plants. Hence all this hampered the productivity of the aerospace sector and reduced the demand for new aircraft. For instance, as per the 2021 report of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Global business jet deliveries declined 20.4% to 644 aircraft in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the 2021 finance report of Boeing, the company saw 40% less funding towards new aircraft deliveries in 2020 compared to 2019, and also the company reduced production of aircrafts 787s & 777s while halting production of 737max. As there was a decrease in the demand and production of new aircraft, hence this reduced demand for flame retardant plastics like carbon fiber reinforced plastics that are highly used for making aircraft bodies. Hence such reductions have negatively impacted the flame retardant for the aerospace plastic market.
Flame Retardant for Aerospace Plastic Market Segment – By Flame Retardant Type
Metal Hydroxide held the largest part in flame retardant for an aerospace plastic market in 2021, with a share of over 30%. This is owing to factors like aluminum hydroxide which is commonly used as flame retardant has a very low rate of flame spreading, heat release, smoke production, it is cost-effective, corrosion-resistant and its coating creates phosphorous rich crosslink-aromatic char which provides smoke suppression. Hence it is widely used in commercial aircraft segment in edges of wings or tails, lip skin of nacelle. In 2021 Airbus received an order of 255 new A321neo aircraft from U.S private equity firm Indigo Partners, and in December 2021, Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation provided an order of 111 aircraft to Airbus covering Airbus models like A220, A320, A330, A350. With the increase in demand for new commercial aircraft, the usage of fire-resistant materials in such aircraft will increase, thereby promoting demands of metal hydroxides like aluminum hydroxide as flame retardants in the aerospace industry.
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Flame Retardant for Aerospace Plastic Market Segment – By Application
Aircraft fuselage held the largest share in flame retardants for an aerospace plastics market in 2021, with a share of over 40%. This can be attributed to factors like the usage of polymers including carbon fiber reinforced polymer whose mixture with flame retardants creates carbon fiber reinforced plastics that has unique properties like it does not corrode as metals do, less maintenance cost, high strength & stiffness and is low weighted. Hence due to such unique properties, it has high aerospace application in making aircraft fuselage and less maintenance means more flight time, thereby making carbon fiber planes more profitable. For instance in 2021, 50% of the main body of the new generation, 777max of Boeing consists of carbon reinforced fiber plastic which makes aircraft light weighted and fuel-efficient. The company plans to introduce such material in other passenger aircraft like 737 MAX, whose production is aimed to increase up to 31% in 2021. The increase in usage of such highly engineered plastics will positively impact the flame retardant for the aerospace plastic market.
Flame Retardant for Aerospace Plastic Market Segment – By Aircraft Type
Heavy aircraft held the largest share in flame retardants for the aerospace plastics market in 2021, with a share of over 35%. This is owing to factors like, increase in the production rate of heavy aircraft types like a commercial airliner in major aircraft manufacturers like Airbus, Raytheon Technologies, United Aircraft Corporation, Boeing, etc. owing to an increase in domestic and international traveling volume. For instance, in 2021, Boeing delivered 79 commercial aircraft in the second quarter compared to 20 deliveries in 2020, showing an increase of 79%, while Airbus delivered 172 aircraft in the second quarter in 2021 compared to 72 in 2020, showing an increase of 54%. Hence with the increase in the demand for heavy aircraft like a commercial airliner, the demand for effective materials like aluminum hydroxide that as flame retardant can be used in carbon fiber planes will also increase, thereby showing a positive impact on flame retardant for the aerospace plastic market.
Flame Retardant for Aerospace Plastic Market Segment – By Geography
Europe held the largest share in flame retardant for the aerospace plastic market in 2021, with a share of over 40%. This is owing to factors like the region headquartering of one of the largest aircraft manufacturers i.e., Airbus that has more than 12 manufacturing sites in Europe in countries like the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Hence with the increase in demand for defense & commercial aircraft and their components in the region, the demand for flame retardants to be used in such aircraft components will increase. For instance, in 2021 Airbus increased the production rate of A320 Family aircraft from 43 aircraft in Q3 to 45 in Q4 in the production plant in France, Germany, Toulouse, and it increased the monthly production rate of A322 from 5 to 6 aircraft per month in Montreal, Quebec, Mobile. Hence with such an increase in the production rate of European countries, the demand for flame retardants to be used in them would also increase thereby positively impacting the flame retardants for the aerospace plastic market in the European region.
Flame Retardant for Aerospace Plastic Market Drivers
Rapid demand for lightweight material
Commercial air transport is growing rapidly in developing markets like India and with new aircraft replacing old ones, the demand for lightweight and cost-effective material like carbon fiber reinforced plastic has increased as such materials have low maintenance and provide proper weight management in aircraft. Hence it is for this reason that various companies like Boeing, Airbus has started replacing the metallic structure of their aircraft with carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and more innovative material like polyamides, polycarbonates are also being used in interior components, seat covers, etc. For instance, in 2021 the majority of construction in a new fleet of commercial aircraft like Airbus350 consisted of a composite material like carbon fiber reinforced plastic and other advanced materials due to which A350 successfully reduced the airframe maintenance cost by 40% and it delivered 25% less operating cost to operators in upper widebody market segment. As carbon fiber planes require less maintenance, so they would be used more flight time.
The growing importance of flame retardants in the aviation sector
Confined and compact spaces in aircraft make it imperative to minimize fire hazards, as flammability is considered a major cause of aircraft accidents. Hence this major problem can be prevented by proper utilization of flame retardant fibrous material that would be used in aircraft design, manufacturing, and in its interior furnishing. Hence such material has good chemical strength, resists smoke gas toxicity and the coating of flame retardants enables it to withstand high temperature. With the growing safety concern in the aerospace sector, the demand for such flame retardant fibrous material like carbon fiber reinforced plastic has increased, and due to technological advancements, flame retardants of various types are being introduced in the market by major manufacturers. For instance, in 2021 RTP Company launched a new series of flame retardant products that can be used application in air handling spaces, LANXESS launched a glass fiber reinforced plastic compound made of 92% sustainable raw material.
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Flame Retardant for Aerospace Plastic Market Challenges
Stringent Regulations laid by Organizations
Flame retardants though require flame resisting benefits when applied to materials, but consist of chemicals which when exposed to the human body can have adverse health effects. Hence it causes cancer, impacts the immune system, neurologic dysfunction, and endocrine thyroid disruption. Hence to prevent the adverse impact of flame retardant on human or animal life, certain regulations have been laid down by governments and organizations. For instance, in January 2021, U.S Environment Protection Agency issued phenol, isopropylated phosphate, or PIP 3:1 rule under the Toxic Substance Control Act, which restricts the industrial usage of flame retardants. Moreover, in October 2019 European Union adopted regulation 2019/2021 a package of eco-design requirements for electronic displays, which would restrict the usage of halogenated flame retardants in plastic enclosures. Hence such restrictions have hampered the usage of flame retardants in aerospace plastics.
Flame Retardants for Aerospace Plastics industry outlook
The companies to develop a strong regional presence and strengthen their market position, continuously engage in mergers and acquisitions. Flame Retardants for Aerospace Plastics top 10 companies
Huber Engineered Material
In 2021, Clariant Corporation announced its establishment flame retardants production facility in China for expansion of its Exolit OP flame retardants. By establishing local production capacity, Clariant greatly enhances the speed at which it can provide solutions to its customers in China.in 2021, LANXESS signed a contract to acquire Solvay U.S phosphorous additives business. Hence such acquisition will enable the company to increase the production of flame retardants in the North American region.
Usage of innovative manufacturing techniques like additive manufacturing, in which aircraft parts can be produced using less material thereby making aircraft light weighted & high performance has provided growth opportunities in flame retardants for the aerospace plastic market.
Europe dominates the flame retardants for the aerospace plastic market, as the region has countries like the UK, France, Germany, Spain showing a significant increase in their air commute, new orders for aircraft and components.
With the demand for commercial aircraft continuously growing especially in developing markets, so this has led to an increase in demand for smart new materials, electric propulsion, evolving technologies. Hence such new demands will replace the usage of metal by flame retardants plastics in the commercial aircraft segment.
Non-Halogenated Flame Retardant Chemicals Market
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