The concrete fiber market has lately demonstrated a steady growth, which is expected to continue in the coming years. The trend is further reinforced by the distinctive properties of specific fibers, including high compression/wear resistance, and low water permeability. These materials are commonly used in a wide range of sectors, gaining popularity in the road and civil construction, industrial and mining.
Concrete is widely used in engineering structures due to its high compressive strength, abundant components, and low cost. However, common concrete has the following drawbacks:
- prone to cracking;
- poor toughness;
- low tensile and flexural strength;
- low shock resistance;
- high brittleness and so on.
To overcome these drawbacks, binders and reinforcing materials are added to improve the performance of concrete. Reinforced concrete can be considered as a composite material consisting of mixtures of cement, concrete or mortar and discrete, discontinuous, evenly dispersed suitable fibers.
The increasing use of basalt fiber as a strengthening material for concrete reinforcement is expected to propel market growth over the forecast period.
In addition to basalt fibers, various types of fibers, such as synthetic fibers, steel fibers, glass fibers and others are often used to reinforce the concrete. Synthetic fibers dominated the market with nearly 47,87% of the total concrete fiber market share in 2014 due to the good price / quality ratio. Steel fibers is another major material segment and is expected to grow significantly, from 2015 to 2020.
The choice of fiber depends on the requirements for physical and mechanical properties of strengthening materials. The next important factor is availability of a specific fiber type for end users. Therefore, developing the products, companies must take into account the standards specified for various applications of reinforcing fibers.
On the basis of regions, Asia-Pacific is the biggest as well as the fastest growing market for concrete fibers. It accounted for a share of more than 43.4% of the total market in 2014. China is the leading country and the fastest growing market in the region and also across the globe, closely followed by the USA.
Among the sectors stimulating concrete fiber market, construction was major application segment and accounted for major chunk of market share in 2014. Growth in construction worldwide, especially in developing countries, is expected to drive the demand for concrete fibers in the years to come. Road industry is also among the key end-user sectors driving the concrete fiber market. The mining segment is one of the fastest-growing end-use industries of concrete fibers and the trend is expected to continue in the near future.
Essential factors to stimulate the development of the concrete fiber market in the regions include a growing demand for concrete fibers in China and India, as well as growing population of concrete fibers. The key material types of concrete fibers in these regions include synthetic, steel, and basalt fibers. Japan and South Korea are demonstrating a steady growing demand for this kind of products. However, high operating cost and capital-intensive R&D may pose challenge to the market growth in the near future.
As for Europe, reinforcing fibers are demanded in Germany, France and the UK.
Major market players include a lot of big names, such as
- BASF SE (Germany),
- Sika AG (Switzerland),
- Propex Global (U.S.),
- Cemex (Mexico),
- Fibercon International Inc.(USA),
- The Euclid Chemical Company (USA),
- Bekaert SA (Belgium),
- Nycon (USA),
- W.R. Grace and Company (U.S.).