Study explores growth markets for Nomex honeycomb

A new study from Eldib Engineering & Research Inc. evaluates new and expanding composites markets for the application of Nomex honeycombs.

Eldib Engineering & Research Inc. (Berkeley Heights, N.J., USA) has completed a new market research study on growth in markets for Nomex honeycombs. Nomex honeycombs are made from Nomex paper manufactured by E.I. duPont de Nemours and Co. Nomex paper is made from aramid fibers made from metaphenylene diamine and isophthaloyl chloride to give a polymer spun to fiber to make the paper.

The market study was carried out by a team of researchers headed by Dr. I. Andrew Eldib, president of Eldib Engineering & Research Inc. The researchers organized the growth rate of Nomex honeycomb sandwich structures into two specific categories. The first category of growth is calculated based on current market conditions remaining the same, and the second category of growth looks at the market as if it were to rapidly expand.

According to the Eldib study, projected growth rate of commercial passenger planes ranges from a 3.4 to 5.3 percent annual increase between 2012 and 2030, if the market trend remains the same. Eldib market researchers estimate that the consumption of Nomex honeycombs in the long range is predicted to grow at an even faster rate if the market rapidly expands due to the new and beneficial uses.

According to the study, new and beneficial uses of Nomex honeycombs in UAVs (unmanned aircraft vehicles), enjoy by far the fastest growing segment of the aerospace industry. There are already more than 50 companies producing many different designs. The forecasted number of UAVs exceeds 50,000 by 2020.

Nomex honeycombs are used in tactical, military UAVs because of signal transparency virtually undetected by radar. Honeycomb structure cell size and thickness, as well as sandwich facings, can be selected favoring lightness.

Small boat production has fallen nearly 30 percent since 2008 and is now leveling at that level, but there is major optimism in the large super yacht industry. Luxury yachts have honeycomb panels that displace the steel superstructure previously used. These large luxury yachts use more honeycombs in the superstructure panels in order to make the super yacht more light weight for speed and stability.

An energy saving concern in particularly Western Europe is expected to accelerate the amount of Nomex honeycomb used in passenger trains.

A 9 percent reduction in weight of subways and regional passenger trains will decrease energy consumption by 7 to 8 percent over the lifetime of the trains. Using honeycomb in paneling in ceilings, floors and partitions gives the train a lighter weight resulting in a longer life expectancy for the train due to reduced wear.

The Eldib study describes a change in the market structure for selling Nomex paper. Du Pont no longer produces honeycombs; instead, it sells the Nomex paper to distributors. The distributors sell to producers of honeycombs. The Eldib report provides a list of distributors; some of the distributors also produce honeycombs.

The Eldib study provides prices of standard and flexible honeycomb cores. Prices of aerospace honeycombs are higher than commercial grades and prices of flexible honeycombs are much higher than standard and aerospace grades.

The Eldib study indentifies the five major producers of Nomex honeycombs and the annual dollar sales volume of each. The study also identifies the current and potential customers of Nomex honeycombs among manufacturers of interiors for aircrafts, ships, and trains.

For more information, contact Eldib at +1 908-263-7048 or eldiber@comacast.net.