Textile glass fibers will exhibit the better growth prospects due to opportunities in reinforced plastics. Steady advances in glass fiber use will result from continued material and technology improvements. Slower increases are anticipated for glass wool insulation due to its strong reliance on construction markets and a marked deceleration in residential building construction activity over the forecast period. These and other trends are presented in Glass Fibers, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm. Glass wool (fiberglass) insulation demand is expected to rise 1.7 percent annually to 4.1 billion pounds in 2007, paralleling the pace set between 1997 and 2002.
Fiberglass advances will be stimulated by growing residential aftermarket demand and a rebounding nonresidential building construction segment. Further increases will be constrained by slow residential construction activity and declines in single-unit housing starts, since the residential construction market accounts for more than 70 percent of overall fiberglass insulation value.
Textile glass fiber demand will grow 2.5 percent yearly to 2.8 billion pounds in 2007. Advances will reflect opportunities in reinforced plastic applications brought about by needs for higher performing and more cost effective materials in construction and electrical/electronic equipment areas. Limited growth in motor vehicles, the second largest reinforced plastic use, will be attributable to slow production advances and the lack of significant new applications. Glass fibers are the leading reinforcement fiber in plastic products due to their low cost and good performance.