Metal matrix composites (MMCs) are metals or alloys that incorporate particles, whiskers, fibers, or hollow micro balloons made of a different material, and offer unique opportunities to tailor materials to specific design needs. These materials can be tailored to be lightweight and with various other properties including high specific strength and specific stiffness, high hardness and wear resistance, low coefficients of friction and thermal expansion, high thermal conductivity and high energy absorption and a damping capacity. In addition to these properties, new MMCs are being developed with self-healing, self-cleaning, and self-lubricating properties, which can be used to enhance energy efficiency and reliability of automotive systems and components.
Current markets for metal matrix composite are primarily in military and aerospace applications. Experimental MMC components have been developed for use in aircraft, satellites, jet engines, missiles, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space shuttle. The first production application of a particulate-reinforced MMC in the United States is a set of covers for a missile guidance system. Other commercial applications include cutting tools and circuit-breaker contacts. Furthermore, increasing demand for lightweight & strong MMC from the ground transportation end-use industry is also propelling the market growth.
The report analyses the global metal matrix composite market based on product, reinforcement type, production technology, end-use industry and geography.
Based on product, the market is categorized into aluminum MMC, magnesium MMC, refractory MMC and others. Aluminum MMCs are produced by casting, powder metallurgy, in situ development of reinforcements, and foil-and-fiber pressing techniques. Materion Corporation offers products including AlBeMet aluminum-beryllium composites, AlBeCast investment casting alloy composites, beryllium-beryllium oxide composites (E-Materials), and SupremEX aluminum-silicon-carbide composites. AlBeMet composites or AlBeCast casting alloys combine the high modulus and low density characteristics of beryllium with the fabrication and mechanical property behaviors of aluminum that provide fabrication advantages.
Based on reinforcement type, the market is categorized into continuous, discontinuous and particle. There are two types of discontinuous reinforcement for MMCs including particulate and whiskers. The most common types of particulate are alumina, boron carbide, silicon carbide, titanium carbide, and tungsten carbide. Whereas, the most common type of whisker is silicon carbide, but whiskers of alumina and silicon nitride are been produced.
Different production technologies included in the market are liquid metal infiltration including gas pressure infiltration, squeeze casting infiltration method and others; powder metallurgy including hot pressing, ball mill mixing, extrusion/rolling and vacuum pressing; casting such as, stir casting, gravity casting, low-pressure casting and compo-casting; depositions techniques including electroplating, spray foaming and chemical vapour deposition. The common manufacturing processes used to achieve composites are powder metallurgy techniques, vapour deposition, diffusion bonding, and infiltration of liquid metal into the fibre bundles under pressure.
The end use industries of the metal matrix composite market are ground transportation, aerospace, thermal management, industrial and others. Metal-matrix composites are used for the space shuttle, commercial airliners, electronic substrates, bicycles, automobiles, golf clubs, and a variety of other applications. While the vast majority are aluminum matrix composites, a growing number of applications require the matrix properties of superalloys, titanium, copper, magnesium, or iron.
By geography, the global metal matrix composite market is studied across the countries of key regions such as, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and rest of the world regions which includes Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The demand for metal matrix composites is high in the North American region due to the strong demand from the aerospace, defence, automobile, etc. The industries in North America are witnessing growth owing to the increasing per capita expenditure and growing urbanization. In addition, several initiatives undertaken by the governments of different countries of the region to attract investments from various international companies. Moreover, the Europe is projected to remain the second-largest market for MMCs during the forecast period. The U.K and Russia are the two major contributors to the European market, owing to significant investment in the R&D activities, especially for the aerospace industry.
The leading metal matrix composite market players are 3M, Ceramtec, CPS Technologies Corporation, Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH, Ferrotec Corporation, GKN Sinter Metals, Materion Corporation, Metal Matrix Cast Composites, Plansee Se and Sandvik AB. Market players are involved in product launches and collaboration agreements to exploit maximum revenue potential in global market.
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