The market for advanced composite materials is set to grow by 16% annually to $25.8 billion in 2020 - from just $7 billion in 2011.The history of the development of composite materials shows once again the early role of government in helping develop and assisting to market new technologies that eventually create entire new industries. In this case, it was the government's concern over the availability of metals for aircraft production in World War 2, then the demands of the Cold War aerospace programs, that facilitated development of large scale industrial production of composite materials.
But, according to a study by US-based Lux Research, while aerospace has traditionally been the biggest consumer of new structural materials, wind turbines will replace the industry as the leading advanced composites market, owing to the growth of offshore installations.
According to Lux's study - Carbon Fiber and Beyond: The $26 Billion World of Advanced Composites - by 2020, wind will account for $15.4 billion in advanced composites use, compared to just $6.3 billion for aerospace. Read more.
This is the true historical pattern of USA economic development, from the Army's role in mapping out routes for settlers going west, to the Coast Geodetic Surveys, to the river navigation improvements of the mid 1800s, to the Navy's role in promoting wireless telegraphy during World War 1, to the Good Roads movement for government paving of roads to made possible widespread use of the automobile in the 1910s to 1920s, to the 1960s seed ARPANET provided for development of the internet. The conservative myth of rugged entrepreneurs is mostly a lie. It's been a partnership - often uneasy, but a partnership - between government and free enterprise, that has led the development of the USA economy.