Consumer products such as boats, automobiles, and recreation products have been manufactured with composites since the early 1950s. Typically, consumer composites are products that require a cosmetic finish, such as boats, recreational vehicles, and sporting goods. The cosmetic finish in many cases is an in-mold coating known as a gel coat. Consumer products make up a large portion of the overall composites industry. Other examples of consumer composites are:
Composite products are also used in industrial applications, where corrosion resistance and performance in adverse environments is critical. Premium resins such as isophthalic and vinyl ester formulations are required to meet corrosion resistance specifications.
Cosmetic finishes are typically secondary to the performance of the product in industrial composites. Examples of industrial composite products are:
Expensive, high performance resin systems fall into the category of advanced components. Products made for industries including aerospace, military, and commercial aircrafts are the major customers in the advanced components category.
There are many exotic resins and fibers that are used in advanced composites, but epoxy resin and reinforcement fiber of aramid, carbon, or graphite dominates the market.