Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) Value Chain

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) Value Chain

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) Value Chain

Above figure shows the value chain in which major process steps,intermediate products, and approximate prices of composites used in automotive are mentioned that transform crude oil into carbon fiber and then later into carbon fiber (CF) reinforced polymers (CFRP). In the manufacturing process of precursor, propylene derived from crude oil by cracking of naphtha is reacted with ammonia (derived from natural gas). The process is called as ammoxidation process and the resulting product is Acrylonitrile (AN). The next step is polymerization & spinning process that converts AN into CF grade PAN. PANis used as a precursor in the manufacturing of carbon fiber. Purchasing acrylonitrile from suppliers is the first point of integration into the supply chain of most of the carbon fiber manufacturers. Almost all the carbon fiber manufacturers have their own polymerization and precursor spinning capabilities while some major players like Mitsubishi Rayon Corporation have an in-house crude oil refining and cracking capability, and Teijin group also has set up anew plant for PAN precursor manufacturing. Precursors are not widely available in the market for purchasing while carbon fiber is widely available in the market. Carbon fiber is usually available in the market and can be purchased directly from Carbon fiber manufacturers but CF-grade precursor are not available for direct purchasing as most of the precursor is retained in-house by Carbon fiber manufacturers. Usually, other      co-monomers in small concentration of around 5% are also present with PAN precursor fibers. Restrictions in entering the manufacturing of CF-grade precursor and CF are the high capital costs and the high quality requirement of the product and thus, there are only about 15 carbon fiber manufacturers in the world.

Carbon fiber is generally used as a reinforcement material in composites. Carbon fiber, for its use in applications such as aerospace,automotive, wind, and pressure vessels, undergoes through numerous processes such as pretreatment, oxidation, LT carbonization, HT carbonization, surface treatment, sizing, and winding. After the winding process, the final product that is obtained is suitable for its use in aerospace, automotive, wind andpressure vessel applications.

Composites which use carbon fiber are known as carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) or carbon fiber composites. CFRP generally refers to composites which have a polymer matrix and is a narrower subset of carbon fiber composites. Advantages of CFRP are its high strength-to-weight ratio and greater stiffness which enables its use in applications that demand a very stiff, strong and lightweight material. CFRP uses both thermoplastic and thermoset polymer resins, of which thermoset polymer resin are most commonly used. Though CFRP costs much higher than other metals, yet there are numerous CFRP manufacturers as there is less restriction for entering the market due to wide availability of CF and intermediate products such as fabrics, prepegs, and molding compounds.

For the production of CFRP, carbon fiber is further processed and is then sent to part manufacturers. In intermediate processing, different compounds such as bidirectional woven fabric, unidirectional woven fabric, 3D fabric, prepegs, and molding compounds are formed. These intermediate products are then sent to part manufacturers where these products are used to manufacture autoclave, hand lay-up, vacuum bagging, resin transfer molding,vacuum assisted resin transfer molding, compression molding, filament winding,and others which are then used as CFRP in applications such as aerospace,automotive, wind, and pressure vessels.

For an average price of $70/barrel, carbon fiber used in automotive application will be priced at ~$18-$21/kg and CFRP in automotive applications will be priced around ~$75-$80/kg.

Prismane Consulting’s LinkedIn Posts click here

Prismane Consulting’s Open PR Posts click here

For more details on Carbon Fiber Composites, please contact us at

For More Reports click here



(0) Comments

Leave A Comment

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required