How is Flourishing Aerospace Industry Leading Thermal Spray Materials Market to Prosperity?
Owing to stable commodity prices, rise in penetration of the aerial mode of transportation, and recovery in the global domestic gross product (GDP), the aerospace industry has witnessed impressive growth. Further, the improvement in GDP has led the governments of many nations, such as India, the U.S., China, and Japan to increase their defense budget as well as make provisions to further boost the aerospace industry. Take the example of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region where in the next twenty years, China is expected to spend more than $1.1 trillion on aircraft. Further, in the region, with the increasing spending power of people, they are preferring air travel as the mode of transportation. These factors are leading to the growing demand for aircraft both for commercial and defense purposes, which in turn, is influencing the demand for thermal sprays. These are used as coatings in turbo-machinery including high-pressure turbine seals, bearings, airframe, compressor seals, rotor-path linings, and engine components and help improve fuel dynamics and efficiency, prevent wear, and reduce maintenance costs.
Thermal sprays are essentially coating materials which are available in rod/wire and powder forms. These are applied on different components at a high temperature to provide protection against wear, corrosion, erosion, and any other damages. Thermal spray materials can be ceramic, metal, polymer or other material-based. These sprays are of two types: wire/rod and powder. All throughout the 2014–2018 period, the rod/wire type thermal spray materials were higher in demand, as they provide high-quality coating and, at the same time, minimize any wastage of the material. The wire/rod is inserted into the gun/torch, which is then heated above the melting point to form molten droplets of the material. They are then accelerated in a gas stream and sprayed onto the substrate for coating. In the near future as well, the wire/rod thermal spray materials would remain popular between the two. A P&S Intelligence study has estimated the thermal spray materials market to advance at a 7.4% CAGR amassing $2,869.2 million in coming years.
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These materials are used in various end use industries, namely medical devices, automotive, oil & gas, aerospace, electronics, industrial gas turbines, and energy & power. The aerospace industry has been the largest user of thermal spray materials, as these materials enhance fuel efficiency, support longevity, and reduce maintenance costs of aerospace and aviation components. They are exposed to harsh conditions, such as extreme pressure and heat, and thermal spray materials help protect these components against high wear and tear by forming a protective covering on them. In the coming years, the fastest growth in demand for these materials is expected to be witnessed by the energy & power industry.
One of the novel spray methodologies, cold gas dynamic spraying, also known as kinetic spraying, is trending in the market. The method is based on bombarding solid particles at high velocities on the surface of materials to form coatings. Inert gases are used and metal powder particles are accelerated at a supersonic speed, which are then impacted at the material surface. The process is being preferred by users as it exhibits a deposition efficiency of 90 % and is highly compatible with metals and alloys of copper, titanium, aluminum, and nanocrystalline materials. Further, it offers easy recyclability of the sprayed raw material and doesn’t require fuel combustion. The adoption of cold spray process is becoming popular with technological advancements in the spray technology, such as feedstock optimization, the introduction of process compatible raw materials, and non-destructive testing.