Seals are used in the multiple areas of an aircraft in order to serve a wide array of functions including aerodynamics, fire resistance, conduction, insulation, and air and fluid handling. Aerodynamic seals are the most widely used seals in an aircraft in terms of both value and units sold and account for more than 40% of the total aircraft seals market. Aerodynamic seals in an aircraft are exposed to a wide range of challenging and operating conditions, such as high temperature, pressure, aggressive chemicals, high frequency of oscillation, and the threat of fire and explosion. It becomes necessary to select a sealing material that can handle such extreme circumstances. The most commonly used materials in aircraft aerodynamic seals are polymers, which comprise elastomers, such as silicone, fluorosilicone, PTFE, rubber, and thermoplastics.
The global aircraft aerodynamic seals market is projected to grow at a healthy rate over the next five years to reach US$ 494.7 million in 2023. Increasing production rates of commercial aircraft is primarily driving the demand for aerodynamic seals. Both the major commercial aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, are incessantly increasing the production rates of their best-selling aircraft in order to meet such huge order backlogs. At the same time, both have strategically been launching fuel-efficient version of their best-selling aircraft programs to have a better grip on the market growth. Currently, Boeing and Airbus have a combined total order backlog of 13,090 commercial aircraft as of 31 March 2018. Owing to this factor, it is estimated that there would be a sustained demand for aerodynamic seals in the foreseeable future.
Another factor assuring a greater demand for fuel-efficient aircraft is that the aerospace industry is highly regulated by stringent regulations imposed by different regulatory bodies located across the world. Currently, these bodies are introducing more stringent regulations on the airline industry regarding the carbon emissions reductions. Additionally, volatile crude oil prices plummet the margin of airlines in this fiercely competitive market as fuel is the leading cost component accounting for 35% to 45% of the total operating cost. These factors are pushing airlines to demand for more fuel-efficient aircraft in order to elevate their profit margin as well as to abide by such stringent regulations. Making aircraft lightweight and aerodynamics are the major ways through which the aerospace industry can make aircraft more fuel efficient. This, in turn, is driving the usage of aerodynamic seals in various sections of the aircraft.