Natural fiber can be defined as a raw material obtained directly from animals, plants, or mineral sources. These fibers are converted into nonwoven fabrics such as paper or woven cloth. Natural fibers are mostly used for commercial purposes due to their properties such as length, strength, pliability, elasticity, abrasion resistance, and absorbency.
The natural fiber market has witnessed various changes in the last year due to the introduction of synthetic fibers such as nylon, which challenged the monopoly of natural fibers for textiles and industrial usage. This competitive threat from synthetic fiber prompted the manufacturers of natural fiber to carry out intensive research in manufacturing high breed natural fibers. Natural fibers have low density, are bio-degradable, and renewable, which helps to reduce production cost.
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Government regulations regarding the usage of environmentally friendly products, recyclability, consumer preference, and awareness regarding environmental protection in the developed regions, are likely to drive the natural fiber market in the near future. All natural fibers can be easily mixed in water, which can be used in watery solutions. The presence of water plays an important role in the mechanical behavior of natural fibers. This presence provides enhanced ductility and toughness to the applications. These fibers are utilized in composite materials, which comprises bio composites. These bio composites fibers are further employed in insulation, noise absorbing panels, and in automobiles.
In terms of type, the natural fiber market can be segmented into cellulose-based natural fiber and protein-based fiber. Cellulose-based fiber is also identified as vegetable fiber, whereas protein-based fiber is also called animal fiber. Furthermore, cellulose-based fiber segment is sub-segmented into cotton, flax, and jute. The protein-based fiber segment can be further sub-segmented into wool, mohair, and silk. Cellulose-based fibers consist primarily of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectins, and waxes. These materials has to be reduced while processing into application. Protein-based fiber consist of proteins, with the exception of silk.
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In terms of application, the natural fiber market can be segmented into automotive, textiles, insulation, and medical applications. The textile segment held a major share of the market, followed by the automobile and medical application segments.
In terms of geography, the global natural fiber market can be segmented into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are the major markets for natural fiber, due to the low cost of production involved in the manufacture of natural fibers in these regions. Asia Pacific is another prominent market for natural fiber due to the expansion of the textile market in the region.
Major players operating in the global natural fiber market include BComp, The Natural Fiber Company, Barnhardt Natural Fibers, UPM Biocomposites, and Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. These companies hold a significant share of the market. Thus, the global natural fiber market witnesses intense competition.