TABLE 3.1 DoD Carbon Fiber Usage (millions of pounds)

 

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Cumulative

1987 forecast

4.84

6.09

7.09

6.97

6.67

31.66

Actual

0.95

1.10

1.30

1.64

1.86

6.85

Reduction

3.89

4.99

5.79

5.33

4.81

24.81a

a Down from 1987 forecast by 78 percent

December 1987 Congress passed Public Law 100-202 directing the Secretary of Defense to ensure that a minimum of 50 percent of the PAN precursor for carbon fibers would be procured from domestic sources by 1992 provided that 15 percent was procured from domestic sources by 1988-1989, 20 percent by 1990, and 25 percent by 1991.

The Department of Defense implemented the law through a policy memorandum and two Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) clauses. In July 1999, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition issued a policy memorandum directing military departments to use 100 percent domestic PAN on all major weapons that had not yet entered production. This legislation is still in force today.

In 1989, after 20 years of development, approximately 40 percent of the global market was concentrated in the United States. In Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, the total usage was approximately equal to that of the United States, but it was predominantly for sports equipment. However, there were emerging developments in automotive and industrial markets in Japan. The European market was about one-half the size of the U.S. market and was predominantly commercial aircraft.

The carbon fiber industry entered the 1990s with a major overcapacity condition, demand less than one-half capacity, and a declining U.S. DoD market.

1990 to Present

The worldwide overcapacity and decline in the DoD market led to major reductions in carbon fiber prices and renewed application development. In 1990, DoD usage was at about 1 million pounds annually and no major growth was predicted. The industry strategy was to broaden commercial aircraft use, develop the sports equipment market, and seek industrial applications.

Starting in 1995 there was major industry consolidation:

  • 1995—Hexcel merges with Ciba Composites,

  • 1998—Hercules sells carbon fiber and prepreg business to Hexcel,

FIGURE 3.1. Carbon fiber use in the United States. DATA SOURCE: Suppliers of Advanced Composites Materials Association (SACMA). 1999. Unpublished data provided to the committee prior to the dissolution of the organization.



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