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Sekisui Chemical bringing carbon fiber to infrastructure

Japanese material maker aims to replace metals with stronger, lighter composites

Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics made using Sekisui Chemical's new process are easier to shape, slashing production costs.

TOKYO -- Japan's Sekisui Chemical plans to supply products made from carbon fiber composites for infrastructure applications, seeking to leverage its ties to the construction industry to cultivate a largely untapped market for the material.

Carbon fiber is said to weigh one-fourth as much as steel while being more than 10 times as strong. Three Japanese companies -- global leader Toray Industries, Teijin and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings -- control 60% of the market. They produce the fibers themselves as well as composite materials that use them.

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