Self-reinforced polymers are materials with enhanced properties, which are achieved by controlling the molecular orientation of polymer chains. Self-reinforced polymers have low weight and recyclability with good mechanical properties and excellent impact strength. Polypropylene and PET (poly ethylene terephthalate) are polymers that are highly used as self-reinforced polymers. The two major processes adopted for the manufacture of self-reinforced plastic are hot-compaction and co-extrusion. The process of production of self-reinforced polymers results in lightweight, strong composites. Self-reinforced polymers are preferred in the automotive industry as they can be used as replacement materials for heavier non-structural components. Compared to commonly used glass fiber reinforced polypropylene, the surface finish of self-reinforced polymers is smoother. Self-reinforced polymer is an emerging composite material type, wherein both the reinforcement material and matrix are polymers with high compatibility with each other. Self-reinforced polymers can be used to make numerous products such as automotive components, and luggage and sporting goods.
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The global self-reinforced polymers market is driven by the rise in demand for lightweight components in the automotive industry. Manufacturers are engaged in the production of vehicles with light weight and increased fuel efficiency. Non-toxicity and recyclability are the other key factors driving the global self-reinforced polymers market. Active research and development in science and technology is driving the market for self-reinforced polymers. Demand for self-reinforced polymers in sporting goods such as tennis rackets and protective helmets has been increasing. Significant potential exists in terms of application of self-reinforced plastics in other areas such as machine casings and housings, transport containers, and industrial cladding. However, challenges associated with excessive heating in the manufacturing process are likely to hamper the market in the next few years. Excessive heating may affect the relaxation properties of fibers and finally damages the molecular relaxation properties.
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Based on technology, the global self-reinforced polymers market can be classified into hot compaction, overheating, co-extrusion, film stacking, and traditional melting or powder impregnation. Hot compaction and co-extrusion are the major technologies for the production of self-reinforced polymers. Based on application, the self-reinforced polymers market can be divided into automotive components, sporting goods, luggage, machine casings and housings, transport containers, industrial cladding, and others. However, demand for self-reinforced polymers is high in the automotive industry than that in other industries.
The global self-reinforced polymers market witnessed moderate expansion in 2016. This trend is estimated to continue during the forecast period. North America accounted for significant share of the self-reinforced polymers market in 2016 due to the well-established high performing automobiles, construction, and military equipment industries. Europe, with significant share from the automobile sector, is fuelling the self-reinforced polymers market. Germany and France are the key countries of the self-reinforced polymers market in Europe. In Asia Pacific, demand for automobiles is on the rise due to the increase in population. Urbanization and economic progress in the region are driving the self-reinforced polymers market. The polymer industry is not performing well In Latin America owing to the government policies that curb the usage of polymers. However, the industry may recover in the near future. This is estimated to boost the self-reinforced polymers market in the region. Middle East & Africa is also likely to offer lucrative opportunities to the self-reinforced polymers market.
Key players operating in the global self-reinforced polymers market include Solvay, Regoplas AG, and Polisilk S.A.
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