Lightweight Materials

Metal alloys and composites, which are advanced materials, are commonly used as lightweight materials. These materials are used to reduce the weight of vehicles such as aeroplanes, windmills, and automobiles while maintaining structural efficiency and strength. Carbon fibre, aluminium composites, magnesium, glass fibre, titanium, and other lightweight materials are examples.

The materials used to reduce vehicle weight to minimise emissions, improve performance, and reduce oil and fuel consumption are known as lightweight materials. The improved lightweight materials come in a variety of grades and types, and they're used to make lightweight cars, planes, packaging solutions, and medical equipment. It improves fuel efficiency and the range of plug-ins, hybrids, and all-electric vehicles.

Outstanding corrosion resistance, a high strength-to-weight ratio, and exceptional design flexibility are all advantages of lightweight materials. The effectiveness of lightweight materials is determined by the alloys or composites employed in their production. Non-ferrous metals include lightweight metal alloys such as aluminium, magnesium, high-strength steel, and titanium. By machining, shaping, and welding, these metal alloys can be easily formed.

Aluminum, magnesium, beryllium, titanium, titanium aluminides, engineering plastics, structural ceramics, and composites with polymer, metal, and ceramic matrices are among the improved lightweight materials.

Top Lightweight materials Companies -

  1. Dupont
  2. Arcelor Mittal
  3. Exxonmobil Corporation
  4. Covestro
  5. Allegheny Technologies
  6. 3M Company
  7. Hexcel Corporation
  8. Kaiser Aluminum
  9. Lyondellbasell Industries Nv
  10. Novelis, Inc
  11. Owens Corning
  12. Sabic
  13. Solvay
  14. Thyssenkrupp Ag
  15. Toray Industries, Inc.
  16. Us Magnesium
  17. Vsmpo-Avisma Corporation

Market Overview

The objective of lightweight materials is to dramatically lower lightweight and heavy-duty weights without compromising other properties such as cost performance. Lightweight materials help modern cars achieve better fuel efficiency while preserving their performance and safety. Vehicle weight can be reduced by using materials such improved high-performance steels and aluminium alloys. The use of magnesium alloys and carbon fibre composites can help to increase weight savings in the long run. Weight loss is crucial in reducing CO2 emissions from any source of energy, including fuel cells, oil, biofuels, and electricity. Recycling, mass reduction, and manufacturing processes are the most common ways to reduce polluting gases and CO2 emissions in the transportation sector. The Lightweight Materials market is expected to increase in the next years as the scope and applications of lightweight materials expand globally.

From 2021 to 2030, the global lightweight materials market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 4.5%, from $168.1 billion in 2020 to $261.6 billion in 2030. The key driving forces in the lightweight materials market are the growing automobile sector and increasing vehicle modernization. Because of increased awareness about fuel pollution, many manufacturers are switching to solutions that reduce vehicle weight, which is projected to drive the global market. However, raw material price variations are impeding the market's expansion. Lightweight materials are also used in other end-use industries such as aircraft, windmills, and marine because of their high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent corrosion resistance, and more design freedom. Furthermore, the lightweight materials sector is predicted to grow due to the desire for increased efficiency and lower prices.

The lightweight materials market is segmented based on material types - Metals and Alloys, Composites and Plastics. Metals and Alloys segment is further segmented into High strength steel, Aluminum, Magnesium, Titanium and Others (Beryllium, etc.). Composites are segmented into Carbon Fiber Reinforced, and Glass Fiber Reinforced. The Plastics is segmented into Polycarbonate, Polypropylene and Others (Polyamide etc.).

Lightweight Materials Market Segment Analysis - By Material Types

Depending on the type of lightweight materials, the top segments include metal alloys, composites, and polymers. In the lightweight materials sector, composites are frequently employed. Composites and Polymers have the biggest market share and are growing at the fastest rate, followed by High Strength Steel. The weight of the cars is reduced by roughly 50% thanks to composites and polymers. Additionally, it improves fuel efficiency by about 35%, driving the growth of sub-segment's. The demand for fuel-efficient vehicles has grown as gas costs have risen.

Lightweight composites are both powerful and light, resulting in cost and manpower savings. Because of their superior strength-to-weight ratio, composites are commonly used to replace aluminium, wood, and steel. Fiber-reinforced composites outperform other materials in terms of strength-to-weight ratio. Furthermore, carbon fibre reinforced composites are 70% lighter than steel and 40% lighter than aluminium. Lightweight parts are crucial in industries including transportation, infrastructure, and aerospace because of aspects like ease of installation, lower prices, and conformance to standards. Lightweight composites are simple to handle and install, can assist save money on projects, and can help guarantee that regulations and standards are followed.

Metal alloys dominated the global market in terms of kind. This is due to metal alloys' exceptional features, such as low density, high strength-to-weight ratio, and improved corrosion resistance, which make them ideal for forming, machining, and welding applications in a variety of end-use industries, such as automotive, aerospace, and wind. In lightweight applications, high strength steel is commonly utilised as a direct replacement for standard steel. It is widely used in the automobile industry and can reduce vehicle weight by up to 25%. High-strength steel's recycling value is rising demand, which is expected to drive market expansion.

Magnesium is mostly used in automobiles and mobile gadgets. Magnesium's recyclability has contributed to its rapid rise throughout time. Because of its easy accessibility and plentiful availability, titanium is frequently used in a range of applications. Due of its exorbitant cost, however, it is only employed in a few applications where superior strength and durability are required.

Lightweight Materials Market Segment Analysis - By Application

Different sectors make use of lightweight materials. Automotive, aviation, marine, wind energy, construction, electronic and electrical sector, and others are the applications that make up the Lightweight Materials market. Due to emission reduction laws, the worldwide lightweight materials market by application type has seen significant expansion in recent years and is expected to continue in the next years. Growing applications in the automotive, aviation, and energy sectors are driving the lightweight materials market.

In the next years, the automotive industry is expected to lead the total market with the biggest market share. Modern automobiles require advanced materials to improve fuel economy while maintaining safety and performance. Aluminum, polymers and composites, and high-strength steel are all common materials in the automotive industry. One of the factors fuelling the market's expansion is an increase in automobile innovation. In addition, the increasing penetration of electric vehicles and manufacturers' awareness of the low quantity of gas emissions to enhance vehicle mileage spurred market expansion in the automotive sector.

Other industries are also seeing an increase in demand due to the desire to improve efficiency and save costs. The use of lightweight materials has a direct effect on driving dynamics, agility, and fuel consumption. The use of lightweight materials in aviation is likely to drive up demand for lightweight materials. Furthermore, one of the most important renewable energy sources, wind energy, makes use of lightweight materials in the construction of windmills. Composites have recently seen significant use in the wind energy industry due to improved aerodynamics. In terms of value, composites accounted for almost 20% of the total lightweight materials market.

Transportation and defence are the market's other application segments. Titanium and magnesium are commonly used in these applications because they have unique capabilities for reflecting electromagnetic radiation. The market is predicted to grow in demand as R&D on novel materials for defence applications increases.

Lightweight Materials Market Segment Analysis - By Region

The key markets for lightweight materials worldwide are Latin America, Europe, America, Asia Pacific, or APAC, and MEA, or Middle East and Africa. The global market for lightweight materials is expanding rapidly, owing to strict regulations in North America and Europe. The industry is predicted to rise due to growing car demand in North America. The large presence of major auto manufacturers in nations like the United States and Canada drives growth in this region. The market will be bolstered by rising vehicle sales in the region, as well as a growing focus on using lightweight components and materials for improved fuel efficiency. Several well-known automakers and developers of renewable energy equipment call the region home. Furthermore, the presence of manufacturers of renewable energy equipment is projected to propel the market in this region. Due to a growth in the number of lightweight materials manufacturers in Latin America, demand for the product is fast increasing.

Because the automotive, aviation, marine, and wind turbine industries utilise most lightweight materials, the Asia-Pacific market for these materials dominated total market consumption. Due to increasing demand for passenger automobiles, developing countries such as India and China are regional market leaders. In this industry, lightweight materials are employed to manufacture various vehicle components. Rising knowledge of renewable energy is predicted to boost demand for energy-related products. High defence spending is likely to boost titanium and magnesium demand in the region. High growth can be attributed to strict restrictions and high aviation and automobile production in certain locations. The APAC market is also benefiting from an increase in government financing for renewable energy. Furthermore, manufacturers from all over the world find Asia-Pacific to be an appealing market due to low labour costs, low start-up costs, and cost-effective lightweight materials. This region's lightweight materials market is driven by these factors.

Europe is expected to have a beneficial impact on the market for lightweight materials in the future. The presence of large automobile manufacturers, together with increasing innovation in lightweight materials used in aviation, is projected to drive product demand in this region. The increased emphasis on renewable energy is likely to increase the use of lightweight materials in the fabrication of wind energy equipment in the region.

In the lightweight materials industry, MEA is expected to be one of the fastest expanding regions. Rapid industrialization and the establishment of manufacturing facilities by numerous companies are driving this region's expansion. Natural resource availability is predicted to improve, and the application industry is expected to develop, boosting market demand.

COMPETITIVE LEADERSHIP MAPPING TERMINOLOGY

The competitive leadership mapping section provides information on the Lightweight materials vendors that provide the best lightweight materials, describes the results and analyses, and ranks them based on each assessment criteria's performance.

The evaluation criteria for lightweight materials companies are based on two major categories: product maturity and company maturity. Each category has a set of criteria against which lightweight materials firms are judged.

Product Maturity measures the breadth and depth of a product's offering, its features and functionality, its focus on product innovation, its distinction and impact on consumer value, and its quality and reliability.

Geographic footprint/presence in new markets, breadth of applications offered, channel strategy and fit, efficacy of organic growth strategy, and mergers and acquisitions strategy are all factors examined under Company Maturity.

VISIONARY LEADERS

The lightweight materials providers who are leading the market with their product launches, trending technologies, and growth plans are known as visionary leaders. These lightweight materials manufacturers' product characteristics and functionalities are popular in the market and cater to a global audience. Vendors of lightweight materials classified under Visionary leaders are primarily focused on gaining market leadership through strong financial capabilities and well-established brand equity.

Top Lightweight Materials Companies - Visionary Leaders

Dupont

DuPont is a renowned chemical and science-based product manufacturer. Adhesives, sophisticated printing solutions, construction materials, electronic solutions, consumer products, and other products are among the company's offerings. DuPont’s BETAMATE structural adhesive is used to adhere steel, aluminium, magnesium, and composites to automobile surfaces. Crastin is a resin made of polybutylene terephthalate that is utilised in industrial applications.

SABIC

Sabic's polymer portfolio includes ABS thermoplastic resin, Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, Polyamide, Polybutylene Terephthalate, Polycarbonate, and others, which are used in automotive, foam or lightweight, and pipe applications. Agriculture, automotive, building and construction, consumer, electrical and electronics, healthcare, and industrial applications are among the industries that the company serves.

Arcelor Mittal

ArcelorMittal is a major steel and mining company. It produces steel using energy-efficient processes that emit very little carbon. Steligence is a concept established by the corporation that aids in the development of sustainable and cost-effective structures by combining architectural and engineering methods. Angelina beams, HISTAR steels, and H-sections are just a few of ArcelorMittal's Steligence-based products.

Exxonmobil Corporation

ExxonMobil is a multinational corporation that produces fuels, lubricants, and chemicals. Upstream, product solutions, and low-carbon solutions are the company's main businesses. Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) resins, and Vistamaxx performance polymers are among the company's lightweight packaging materials. ExxonMobil has created sophisticated lightweight polymers for the automobile sector, such as Santoprene Thermoplastic Vulcanizate and Achieve Advanced PP, to help cars be lighter and more fuel efficient.

Solvay

Solvay specialises in materials, chemicals, and solutions. The company's materials segment includes high-performance polymers such as Polyamide 6 and Polyamide 6.6 resins, as well as composites technology. The company offers a varied range of solutions to a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, electronics, food, consumer goods, and a variety of other industrial applications.

Thyssenkrupp Ag

The automotive, aerospace, construction and infrastructure, machinery and plant, engineering, metal processing industry, and energy sectors all benefit from Thyssenkrupp's high-quality materials. For the steelmaking, processing, and chemical industries, the company's raw materials section provides various types of alloys, metals, minerals, technical gases, and coke, as well as its proprietary sequence impulse process (SIP) for resource-saving engineering services.

DYNAMIC DIFFERENTIATORS

Dynamic Differentiators are well-established in the market and have solid commercial strategies. However, when compared to the visionary leaders, these players lack a product portfolio. Lightweight Materials vendors listed under Dynamic Differentiators specialise in a certain sort of product technology.

Top Lightweight Materials Vendors - Dynamic Differentiators

Covestro

Covestro is a leading polymer and associated component manufacturer. The company creates polyurethane foams and high-performance plastic polycarbonate as raw materials for coatings, adhesives, sealants, and speciality goods, such as films. Flexible, rigid, and integrated skin foams can all benefit from the company's high-performance polyurethane raw ingredients. Along with its revolutionary material systems and reliable machine technologies, Covestro also supplies high-performance raw ingredients for outstanding cast polyurethane elastomers.

Allegheny Technologies

Allegheny Technologies makes speciality materials using sophisticated materials science and integrated manufacturing processes. Materials such as titanium and titanium-based alloys, nickel- and cobalt-based alloys, and superalloys are used for high-performance market requirements in the company's High-Performance Materials and Components (HPMC) sector. The product portfolio of Advanced Alloys & Solutions (AA&S) includes rolled titanium and nickel-based alloys, stainless steel, and other speciality materials in plate, sheet, and strip form.

3M Company

3M is an American multinational corporation. Safety and industrial, transportation and electronics, health care, and consumer goods are all segments where the company operates. Fluoroelastomer FC 1650, Anionic Fluorochemical Surfactant, Fluoroplastic PVDF 31008/0003, Nickel-titanium, Polytetrafluoroethylene, and soda-lime-borosilicate glass are among 3M's advanced materials portfolio.

Vsmpo-Avisma Corporation

VMPSO-AVISMA is a major titanium manufacturer. Ingots, billets, slabs, and tubes, among other forms, are used to make titanium, steel, ferrotitanium, aluminium alloys, and other materials. It provides services to the aerospace, power engineering, oil and gas sectors, construction, medicine, and sports industries, among others.

INNOVATORS

Lightweight materials providers who deliver significant product breakthroughs over their competitors are known as innovators. These lightweight materials businesses have popular product portfolios, but their overall corporate growth strategies are lacking.

Top Lightweight Materials Companies- Innovators

Toray Industries, Inc.

Toray Industries creates industrial goods using organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry technologies. Chlorobenzene, diethylbenzene, m-Chlorotoluene, and other chemical molecules are among them. Polypropylene and PET film, as well as PBT, PVC, and metal, are some of the materials utilised in adhesives and sealants.

Kaiser Aluminum

Kaiser Aluminum is committed to providing a broad range of aluminum mill products for aerospace, packaging, automotive, and industrial applications. It is a prominent manufacturer of aluminum semi-fabricated items. Plates, sheets, coils, can sheets, tubes, and wires are among the goods available. Multi-material advanced manufacturing methods and techniques for multi-axis computer numerical control machining, additive manufacturing, welding, and fabrication are also priorities for the company.

Lyondellbasell Industries Nv

LyondellBasell is a global leader in plastics, chemicals, and refining, as well as a leading producer of polymer compounds and a licensor of polyolefin technology such as polyethylene and polypropylene. The firm creates lightweight materials. LyondellBasell provides cutting-edge manufacturing technologies. It was a pioneer in the development of polyolefin and chemical technologies, and it assures that its innovations are constantly improved.

EMERGING COMPANIES

Lightweight materials vendors who offer specific product and service offerings make up the emerging lightweight materials companies in the sector. In comparison to the market's leading players, these lightweight materials providers' growth strategies are lacking. Emerging lightweight materials firms cater to new entrants in the industry in terms of product offers and worldwide presence, and they may take some time to establish themselves as market leaders.

Top Lightweight materials companies- Emerging

Hexcel Corporation

Hexcel Corporation is a major advanced composite material maker. Carbon fibre reinforcements and resin systems are the company's main products. Carbon Fiber, Fabrics/Reinforcements, Prepregs & Resins, HexBond Adhesives, Honeycomb, Tooling, Parts & Structures, and RF Interference Control are all part of the portfolio. Arkema and Hexcel have teamed up to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace industry.

Novelis, Inc

Novelis is a leading manufacturer of flat-rolled aluminum products as well as one of the largest aluminum recyclers. Aluminum sheet and plate material for fuselage and wing construction components, automotive sheets, and beverage container sheets are all supplied by the company. AL: sust is a set of revolutionary low-carbon aluminum solutions that contain at least 80% recycled content and may be used in a variety of applications.

Us Magnesium

US Magnesium is a leading main magnesium producer in North America. Pure magnesium (US Magnesium Maglock Ingots), alloy magnesium, and other chemicals such as chlorine, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, ferrous chloride, and ferric chloride liquid iron salts make up the company's product portfolio.

Owens Corning

Owens Corning provides cutting-edge building material solutions. Building and construction, transportation, consumer goods and electronics, industrial and infrastructure, wind energy concrete reinforcement, and maritime industries all benefit from the company's roofing, insulation, and composites solutions. Fabrics, glass fibre reinforced polymers, carbon fibre reinforced polymers, thermoplastics, and other materials are used in the composites. These lightweight materials provide improved durability, design flexibility, and corrosion resistance for a variety of applications.

Market Dynamics

Lightweight Materials Market Drivers

Strengthen Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Regulations

Estimates of significant contributions of automotive emissions to pollutants are due to rising motorization, which has resulted in substantial worsening of air quality in various places. Initially, auto pollution limits were imposed in most cases. As a result of these rules, pollution control technologies have been introduced, which are then used with diesel engines in various modes of transportation or vehicles. Policies in the transportation industry are already assisting in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from road cars, and they are increasingly being developed to contribute to societal goals to combat climate change. Emission laws are tightening all around the world, with European, American, and Japanese norms leading the way.

Fuel taxes and fuel economy standards have been in place in the United States for decades, according to the OECD. European governments have imposed hefty fuel prices as well but are now considering fuel economy standards.

In the aviation industry, there is a growing demand for lightweight materials

Light weighting design is a concept that has been investigated and used in a variety of industries, particularly in aerospace applications, and is closely linked to the concept of green aviation. Because of the aviation industry's role in global warming and environmental degradation, continual efforts to reduce air emissions have been made. The key strategy for achieving this goal is to improve energy efficiency. Reduced aircraft weight is an effective approach to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel consumption because it requires less lifting force and propulsion during flight.

Furthermore, structural weight reduction is one of the most effective techniques to increase an aircraft's performance. Greater range and speed can be achieved with lighter and stronger materials, which can also help to minimise operating costs. The use of sophisticated materials and engineering approaches in lightweight materials allows structural elements to give the same or better technological performance while utilising less material. As a result of these characteristics, the need for lightweight materials in the aviation industry is expected to rise.

Lightweight Materials Market Restrictions

High cost of production

The lightweight materials market is segmented into Type and Application. However, factors, including rapid fluctuations in raw material prices and high cost of carbon fiber restrict the use of lightweight materials in various end- use industries, including automotive, aircraft manufacturing, wind turbines, and marine.  For instance, the price of 1kg automotive grade carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) can go up to 3900% more than the price of normal steel while the price for glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) can go up to 400% more. High manufacturing costs because of the fluctuating prices of raw materials and carbon fiber are the primary factors restraining the growth of the lightweight materials market.

Constraints on safety and technology

Vehicle emission and fuel efficiency criteria have become more stringent, and the automobile industry is now facing stricter safety rules. OEMs are sometimes prohibited from employing materials due to these limitations.

The market for lightweight materials is also constrained by material standards. The disparity between generic commodity supply and OEM engineered material demand is enormous. As a result, the materials must undergo multiple adjustments to meet the OEM's requirements. This may diminish the supplier's profit margin when supplying supplies to OEMs. As a result, material makers are unlikely to innovate because multiple OEMs may want different specs for the same material.

Lightweight Materials Market Opportunities

Emerging country legislation to come

Emerging countries such as India, China, and Brazil have less severe laws than the United States and Western Europe. The auto sector in these countries is enormous, and it is still expanding at a rapid pace. These countries will be desirable locations for lightweight market players once restrictions are in place.

International organisations, like the United Nations, have put pressure on these countries to establish and execute vehicle emission and fuel efficiency laws.

Electric Vehicle Commercialization

For higher battery efficiency, lightweight is one of the most critical factors to consider when designing electric vehicles. As a result of the widespread commercialization of these vehicles, the market for lightweight materials is expected to grow.

With prices falling, electric car sales may expand, resulting in large-scale vehicle production, which will improve sales of lightweight materials.

Lightweight Materials Market Challenges

Lightweight materials - expensive to produce and maintain

The high cost of lightweight materials like carbon fiber-reinforced composites, titanium, and magnesium may limit their widespread application. Due to the high cost of raw materials, OEMs in developing countries rely on affordable passenger cars and prefer to employ traditional materials over lightweight ones. Furthermore, the cost of producing vehicle components comprised of innovative lightweight materials is considerably higher than for conventional materials. In addition to the expensive cost, lightweight materials demand a lot of upkeep. Lightweight materials are extremely strong and rigid. The weak parts, on the other hand, are difficult to pinpoint. Manufacturing goods that are simple to fix and maintain is difficult in the lightweight materials sector.

Performance differences

In many ways, lightweight materials outperform heavy materials, but they also have drawbacks, such as poor ride and handling in automobiles due to lightweight materials' tendency to vibrate more than heavier materials. Parts that are overly "flimsy" must be reinforced, increasing production costs and complexity.

Various procedures

This has an effect on joining. For example, welding aluminium to steel or other aluminium parts is faster than riveting and reduces the weight of the rivets, but it's still in the experimental stage and uses more energy than riveting, so it's only used in low-volume production.

Lightweight Materials Market – Applications

Lightweight materials are being widely used as an alternative to conventional heavy-weight materials in several industries. These materials aid in reducing the weight of the product without compromising the quality and safety aspects of the products. The automotive and aviation industries are the major consumers in the lightweight materials market, due to their gradual shift towards lightweight materials to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. Other industries like marine, wind energy, and electronics are still exploring the potential of lightweight materials. The lightweight market can be segmented based on the applications below-

Automotive Industry

Automobiles require strong and reliable materials that can withstand friction, corrosion, and temperature fluctuations, failing to which can cause great repercussions for both the user and manufacturer. The different materials used for making the vehicle and its components consist of steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, plastics, and carbon fibers. Among these materials, steel has been the most widely used material for making the vehicle structure, primarily due to its capability to withstand harsh climatic and accidental situations. However, other materials like aluminum have proved to be a great alternative and effectively reduce the weight of the vehicle structure by around 50%.

Automakers are realizing the potential of using lightweight materials and are using alternatives such as polymers, natural fiber–reinforced composites, fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite, bio-based polyamide, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), and optimized polypropylene honeycomb core among other materials. Using these materials automakers are able to improve the emission control systems, safety devices, and integrated electronic systems without increasing the overall weight of the vehicle. Automakers are making significant investments in R&D to research more safe and viable lightweight material options for the interior and exterior components of automobiles.

The lightweight material market is dominated by the automotive industry. It holds about 70-80% share of the overall lightweight market. This dominance is majorly driven by rising concerns over higher fuel efficiency, weight minimization, and environmental regulation and policies. Major automobile manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, GM, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, Jaguar, and Volkswagen are extensively using lightweight materials. Ford for instance is using natural fiber-reinforced composites to reduce vehicle weight. It uses cellulose tree fibers are used in the armrests of the Lincoln MKX mid-size SUV. Another automaker Cadillac uses carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic to reduce the weight of the body. It makes parts such as the hood, and splitter from the CFRP. Other companies are also adopting such lightweight materials to improve overall vehicle efficiency.

Aviation

Most of the planes are made from conventional titanium, steel, aluminum, and many other materials, including composites. In the aviation industry, the larger the plane more is the more fuel consumed. Aircraft engineers are continuously researching various composite materials to reduce weight and improve maneuverability and transportability.

Currently, the industry is using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), glass-fiber-reinforced plastic, polymers, light alloys, and multi-materials the aircraft efficiency. For the vehicle bodies high-strength steel, aluminum, magnesium, and polymers are used. Plastics such as Polyetheretherketone, Thermosetting Polyimide, Polyamide-imide (PAI), Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE), and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) are also being used widely in the aviation industry. It offers advantages such as light in weight, corrosion resistance, impact resistance, and chemical resistance and improves durability.

Aviation companies such as Airbus have designed and manufactured the A350 series using 53% advanced lightweight fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, which increased its fuel efficiency by 25%. Using the FRP composites in combination with other materials can optimize the performance of the aviation industry. Organizations such as HRL and NASA are working together to develop ultra-lightweight materials for aerospace vehicles and structures.

Marine

Light weighting in the marine industry is majorly required to reduce fuel consumption, improve speed, maneuverability, and transportability, and increase the payload. Lightweight materials not only add stability to the structural core but also offers corrosion resistance, fire resistance, and other capabilities to withstand adverse weather conditions attributable to the action of wind, waves, and tides. The main application areas include valves and other subsea structures such as hulls, bearings, propellers, hatch covers, exhausts, topside structures, radomes, sonar domes, railings, etc., which require materials that can withstand the marine environment.

Even though lightweight materials have been used in the marine industry, it is now that the industry is realizing the complete potential of advanced composite materials. In the past, materials other than steel and aluminum were not considered a viable option due to structural stability problems, however, with technological advancements, materials such as fiber-reinforced polymers, glass-reinforced plastic, carbon fiber, and thermoset composites are being widely used both in smaller and larger ships. These materials significantly reduce the weight of the ship and provide adequate electromagnetic shielding without increasing the manufacturing costs. Lightweight manufacturers are widely producing a wide spectrum of advanced composite materials for marine projects.

Electronics

With the exponentially increasing competition in the electronics industry, OEMs are seeking ways to drive down the costs of electronic equipment while maintaining quality and strength. By using materials such as carbon fiber, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate, and other plastic resins, OEMs can substantially reduce the total cost of production and still achieve the required properties of the electronic equipment. These materials provide stiffness, lightweight strength, design flexibility, heat insulation, and lowers production costs. The increasing reliance on the internet and consumer demand for lightweight electronic products will make a significant contribution to the lightweight materials market in the coming years.

Insights into the Market for Lightweight Materials

Because of the presence of prominent businesses, the lightweight materials industry is moderately competitive. To stay afloat in the face of increasing competition, these companies are focusing on inorganic development. The market is fragmented, and mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures are becoming more common. To enhance market demand, several organisations are investing heavily in product innovation and improving product quality.

Because of the expanding use of polymers and composites in the automotive and aviation industries, the number of polymer and composite producers is likely to grow. Many players have entered the fast growing wind energy equipment market, and they have begun to add diverse goods utilised in blade manufacture to their product catalogue.

Benefits of Lightweight Materials

  • Lightweight composites are simple to handle and easy to transport.
  • The use of composite materials offers a low coefficient of thermal expansion for heat conduction, excellent dimensional stability for shape retention, and reliability.
  • The lightweight materials offer high-impact strength to withstand the repeated and harsh use of products.
  • Lightweight materials offer corrosion resistance and enable the deterioration-free operation of marines in salty and corrosive seawater.
  • Advanced composite materials offer design flexibility for use in complex structures.
  • Use of lightweight material in an electric vehicle helps in offsetting the weight of batteries and electric motors.
  • In the electronics industry use of lightweight materials instead of conventional aluminum alloys, can offer relatively higher performance characteristics such as thermal protection and lightweight product body.
  • Lightweight materials consume less energy which makes them a suitable option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Intelligent light-weighting through a method such as latticing can help expand the material options, enabling the product designers to build materials with desirable chemical, thermal, aesthetic, and mechanical properties.
  • Thermoset Polymers offer high strength to weight ratio which is equivalent to that of steel or concrete despite the significantly lesser weight.
  • CFRP is the most used reinforcement material in the wind energy sector for larger blades of the wind turbines due to its durable and lightweight properties.
  • The wind energy industry is focusing on increasing efficiency by using composites in the energy rotor blades. Advanced lightweight materials such as glass fiber composites and carbon fiber reduce the weight of blades, leading to lower manufacturing costs.

Impact Analysis of Covid-19

Due to weakening demand and global economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic has totally changed the business landscape of the lightweight materials industry. Because of the rising number of SARS-CoV-2 cases and deaths around the world, various nations' governments have implemented preventive measures such as lockdown, which has further limited the main manufacturers' production capacity.

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the lightweight materials industry. According to a source, due to auto plant lockdowns and shutdowns, the automobile industry saw a 30% drop in sales in this period. Furthermore, due to the potential of infection among the workforces, some automotive companies have either shut down or ceased operations.

The worldwide lightweight materials supply chain has been hampered by the prolonged health crisis, which has widened the supply-demand mismatch. Furthermore, decreased customer revenue and international travel limitations reduced demand for lightweight materials in the aerospace industries. Furthermore, COVID-19 has temporarily halted several aircraft manufacturing projects, lowering demand for lightweight materials in the aerospace and aviation industries.

Lightweight Materials

Comparing 17 vendors in Lightweight Materials across 96 criteria.

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4.6

DuPont is one of the leading producers of chemicals and science-based products. The company offers a diverse range of products such as adhesives, advanced printing solutions, construction materials, electronic solutions, consumer products, and others. Its BETAMATE is a structural adhesive that is used as adhesion to automotive substrates such as steel, aluminum, magnesium, and composites. Crastin is a polybutylene terephthalate resin that is used for industrial applications. DuPont also uses thermoplastic elastomer, PVF film, and nylon resin materials among several other materials. The company’s R&D is focused on developing alternative energy and light-weighting, protective apparel, and electronics using nanotechnology, chemistry, materials science, engineering, and others.

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ArcelorMittal is a leading mining and steel company in North America, South America, and Europe. It develops steel using processes that are energy efficient and emit significantly low carbon. The company caters its services to automotive and mobility, construction, energy, packaging, appliances, transport, and other industries. The company has developed Steligence, a concept that helps in developing sustainable and cost-effective buildings through a collaborative approach between architectural practices and engineering practices. The products include Angelina beams, HISTAR steels, and H-sections among its other Steligence-based products.

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Thyssenkrupp, a leading technology-based solutions producer offers high-quality materials to automotive, aerospace, construction and infrastructure, machinery and plant, engineering, metal processing industry, and energy sectors. The company’s raw materials division offers different types of alloys, metals, minerals, technical gases, and coke for the steelmaking, processing, and chemical industries and also offers its patented sequence impulse process (SIP), for resource-saving engineering services. These materials mainly consist of steel, stainless steel, plastics, non-ferrous metals like aluminum, copper, and brass, and other raw materials.
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3.8
Sabic works actively in the fields of petrochemicals, chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers, and metals. Its polymer portfolio serves automotive, foam or lightweight, and pipe applications using its Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) thermoplastic resin, Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, Polyamide, Polybutylene Terephthalate, Polycarbonate, and others. The company offers its services to industries such as agriculture, automotive, building and construction, consumer, electrical and electronics, healthcare, and industrial applications among others.
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ExxonMobil is one of the largest integrated fuels, lubricants, and chemical companies in the world. The company’s primary businesses consist of upstream, product solutions, and low carbon solutions. It markets its fuels, lubricants, and chemicals under four brands namely, Esso, Exxon, Mobil, and ExxonMobil. The company also produces lightweight packaging materials which include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) resins, and Vistamaxx performance polymers. For the automotive industry, ExxonMobil has developed advanced lightweight polymers like Santoprene Thermoplastic Vulcanizate and Achieve Advanced PP to reduce the weight of cars and improve fuel efficiency. The company is extensively using machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, and other smart technology upgrades to increase efficiency in its chemical and refining plants.
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3.5
Solvay offers its expertise in the areas of materials, chemicals, and solutions. The materials division of the company consists of unique high-performance polymers like Polyamide 6 and Polyamide 6.6 resins and composites technologies. The company has a diverse portfolio of solutions and caters to multiple industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, food industry, consumer goods and several other industrial applications.
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3.1
Toray Industries develops industrial products based on technologies in organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry. It operates in fibers and textiles, performance chemicals, carbon fiber composite materials, environment and engineering, life science, and other segments which includes analysis, physical evaluation, research, etc. The organic compounds include materials such as chlorobenzene, diethylbenzene, m-Chlorotoluene, and others. The polymer compounds consist of polypropylene and PET film, PBT, PVC, metal are some of the materials used in adhesives and sealants.
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Covestro is a leading producer of polymers and related components. The company develops raw materials which consist of polyurethane foams and high-performance plastic polycarbonate for coatings, adhesives, sealants, and specialty products, including films. These solutions are used in automotive, construction, cosmetics, electronics, electrical and appliances, energy, healthcare, industrial and agricultural applications, and marine and ships among other application areas. The company’s high-performance polyurethane raw materials offer solutions for flexible, rigid, and integral skin foams. Covestro also offers high-performance raw materials for superior cast polyurethane elastomers along with its innovative material systems and proven machine technologies.
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LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals, and refining companies and is also one of the largest producers of polymer compounds and the licensor of polyolefin technologies which includes polyethylene and polypropylene. The company develops lightweight materials and offers solutions to agriculture, building and construction, electrical and electronics, mobility, packaging, personal care, and other custom services.

The company’s portfolio consists of solutions based on basic chemicals including ethylene, propylene, propylene oxide, ethylene oxide, tertiary butyl alcohol, methanol, acetic acid, and their derivatives. Its polymers used include plastic resins, such as polypropylene, polypropylene compounds, and polyethylene.

LyondellBasell offers state-of-the-art manufacturing process technologies. It has pioneered the development of polyolefins and chemicals technologies and ensures continuous improvements in its technologies. The company introduced a new polyolefin process, Hyperzone PE technology for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics.

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VMPSO-AVISMA is a leading titanium producer. It offers services for aircraft manufacturing, power engineering, oil-and-gas industry, construction, medicine, and sports industries. The company uses titanium, steel, ferrotitanium, aluminum alloys, and other materials in the form of ingots, billets, slabs, and tubes among other forms.
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2.6

Allegheny Technologies manufactures specialty materials through its materials science and advanced, integrated process excellence. It serves industries such as aerospace, defense, energy, medical, and electronics. The company operates in two segments namely, High-Performance Materials and Components (HPMC) and Advanced Alloys & Solutions (AA&S).

The HPMC segment consists of materials, including titanium and titanium-based alloys, nickel- and cobalt-based alloys, and superalloys that are used for high-performance requirements of markets such as aerospace and defense, oil, and gas or chemical process industry, electrical energy, and medical.

The AA&S product portfolio consists of rolled titanium- and nickel-based alloys, stainless steel, and other specialty materials available in plate, sheet, and strip. Additionally, materials such as high-purity zirconium, hafnium, niobium-based alloys, and other specialty materials are used for aerospace, nuclear energy, and other applications segments use ATI’s melting technologies and the capabilities of hot-rolling and processing facility.

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2.3

3M, an American conglomerate company, operates in safety and industrial, transportation and electronics, health care, and consumer goods segments. The company has a diverse portfolio of services which include abrasives, adhesive tapes, adhesives, sealants, consumer electronics, and other related products for various industries. 3M’s advanced material portfolio consists of Fluoroelastomer FC 1650, Anionic Fluorochemical Surfactant, Fluoroplastic PVDF 31008/0003, Nickel-titanium, Polytetrafluoroethylene, and soda-lime-borosilicate glass among other lightweight materials.

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Kaiser Aluminum is dedicatedly involved in developing a wide spectrum of aluminum mill products for aerospace, packaging, automotive, and industrial end markets. It is a leading producer of semi-fabricated aluminum products. These products include plates, sheets, coil, can sheets, tubes, and wires among other products. The company also focuses on additional facilities such as multi-material advanced manufacturing methods and techniques, which include multi-axis computer numerical control (“CNC”) machining, additive manufacturing (“3D Printing”), welding, and fabrication.
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2.2
Hexcel Corporation is a leading manufacturer of advanced composite material for the commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial markets. The company’s product portfolio is based on carbon fiber reinforcements and resin systems. The portfolio consists of Carbon Fiber, Fabrics/Reinforcements, Prepregs & Resins, HexBond Adhesives, Honeycomb, Tooling, Parts & Structures, and RF Interference Control. Hexcel has partnered with Arkema, another pioneer in advanced materials, in order to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace industry.
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1.6
Novelis operates as a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd., and as a flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group. It is a leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and is also one of the largest recyclers of aluminum. The company supplies aluminum sheet and plate material for the fuselage and wing structure components, sheets in automotive, and offers can sheets to the beverage industry. In order to achieve sustainability, Novelis launched AL: sust, which is a collection of innovative low-carbon aluminum solutions, containing at least 80% recycled content and can be used for multiple applications.
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Owens Corning offers innovative materials solutions for building solutions. The company offers roofing, insulation, and composites solutions to building and construction, transportation, consumer goods, and electronics, industrial and infrastructure, wind energy concrete reinforcement, and marine industries. For the composites, it uses materials such as fabrics, glass fiber reinforced polymer, carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers, thermoplastics, etc. These materials are lightweight and offer enhanced durability, design flexibility, and corrosion resistance for various applications.
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US Magnesium, a leading producer of primary magnesium in North America. It has a unique operation to produce primary pure and alloy magnesium metal, as well as chlorine, calcium chloride, iron chlorides, and hydrochloric acid. The company’s product portfolio consists of pure magnesium (US Magnesium Maglock Ingots), alloy magnesium, and other chemicals such as chlorine, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, sodium chloride and ferrous chloride, and ferric chloride liquid iron salts. The alloys are applicable to automotive, power tool, telecommunication, and computer component industries.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Lightweight materials are used to reduce the weight of the product or component of the system either by replacing the traditional materials or by making design changes while maintaining the strength of the product to the same level.
Lighter materials increase the efficiency of the product. For instance, replacing traditional materials such as iron and steel components of a car with lightweight materials such as magnesium, alloys, carbon fibers, aluminum or composite polymers will reduce the weight of the vehicle’s body by up to 50% and ultimately will result in reduced fuel consumption, thereby increasing overall efficiency.
Based on the material type, lightweight materials can be categorized as composite type, metal type, and plastic type.
Lightweight metals make a major contribution to the market due to their wide usage in the automotive and other sectors. Lightweight composites contribute around 20% and plastics contribute 6-7% of the total lightweight market.
Aluminum, Magnesium, Titanium, Beryllium, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic, Polycarbonates, Polypropylene, Elastomers, and Polyamide are the most widely used lightweight materials. Some companies are also exploring the advantages of alloys.
The top lightweight materials companies are DuPont, ArcelorMittal, Thyssenkrupp, ExxonMobil, Solvay, Toray Industries, Covestro, Lyondellbasell, VSMPO-AVISMA, and Allegheny.
The automotive industry will dominate the lightweight market. However, aerospace and defense, building and construction, health and medical, equipment, and electronics industries also make a significant contribution. Other industries such as power and energy, retail, food, beverages, and others are yet to realize the complete potential of lightweight materials, and hence are still emerging in the lightweight materials market.
Currently, metal alloys and lightweight steel are the major areas of focus for the companies.
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