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Automotive Fig. 4: Door

Automotive Fig. 4: Door panel BMW 5 Series (with 2 colour PVC foil) (Source: JCI) In Europe, bio-composites are mainly available at an industrial level only for semi-structural automotive applications. To expand the application area of bio-composites to structural parts, also for non-automotive applications, it is important to improve their performance. Therefore, the main objective of two European projects (NATEX and Bio-Build) at IVW is to develop aligned textiles from natural fibres that are suitable for use as high-strength reinforcing fabrics (Fig. 7). These fabrics are the basis for structural composite materials with improved mechanical properties. In both projects the scientific objective of IVW is to develop and adapt processing methods to manufacture the novel bio-based composites with natural fibres and bio-based and petroleum-based thermoset and thermoplastic matrices respectively [7, 8, 9]. Fig. 6: Door Panel from Natural-Fiber Prepreg Composite (copyright Dräxlmaier Group) The NATEX project, which was successfully completed in 2012, is based on the use of hemp and flax natural fibres which are mainly cultivated in Europe. Within the work aligned natural fibre textiles were used as reinforcement with both bio-based thermoset and thermoplastics. In order to increase the bio-composite performance further the impregnation methods of natural fibre textiles with different matrices were optimized. Considering both improvements in the bio-composite manufacturing process (application of NF aligned textiles and optimized semi-finished material manufacturing process) it was possible to increase the part’s stiffness or rigidity by about 3 times in both NF reinforced thermoplastics and NF reinforced thermosets Whereas in the NATEX project the main research focus was the evaluation of appropriate materials, the knowledge gained can now be applied and deepened in the new BioBuild project. The aim of BioBuild (High Performance, Economical and Sustainable Bio-composite Building Materials) is to use bio-composites to reduce the embodied energy in building facades, supporting structures, and internal partition systems by at least 50% over current materials with no increase in cost. This means sustainable materials (natural fibres and bio-resins) will be used to replace aluminum, steel, 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/13] Vol. 8

Automotive Fig. 5: Natural fibre material (NF-EP) (Source: JCI) FRP, bricks, and concrete in buildings, mainly in facades and internal partitions. The resins in this project are furan based and cashew nut oil based with reinforcing fibres of flax and jute. The bio-composites and construction products should have a life span of 40 years by protecting the fibres with novel treatments and coatings. The know-how acquired in these projects regarding new renewable materials (both natural fibres and biopolymers), manufacturing methods for semi-finished materials and optimized processes for these new compounds, can also be transferred within a reasonable period time to new application areas in the automotive industry. [1] [2] Andreas Beckmann, Einsatz von Naturfasern im Kfz- Innenbereich, Landtechnik 2/2001, p. 229-230 [3] Günther, P.; Reichhold, J. (Faurecia Interior Systems): Innovative material concepts - natural based - for automotive interior applications, AVK – Arbeitskreissitzung “Naturfaserverstärkte Kunststoffe“, Frankfurt am Main, 07. September 2012 [4] Medina, L.: Naturfasern in Automobilanwendungen -Trends national und international. Biocomposites - natürliche Innovation aus RLP, IVW GmbH, Kaiserslautern, 1. Dezember 2011 [5] J. Dittrich & Söhne, Vliesstoffwerk GmbH, Thermoset-prepegs out of natural fibers, a successful synthesis of nature and technology (company presentation) [6] Bürgermeister, S.: Ganzheitliche Bereitstellungs-, Verarbeitungs- und FErtigungsstrategien von NAturFAserrohstoffen. AVK – Arbeitskreissitzung “Naturfaserverstärkte Kunststoffe“, Frankfurt am Main, 24. Mai 2012 [7] Pohl, T.; Properties of compression moulded new fully thermoset composites with aligned flax fiber textiles. Plastics, Rubber and Composites, Vol. 40, No. 6/7 (2011), S. 294-299 [8] Medina, L.: Natural Fiber Reinforced Composites – Key Chances and Advanced Solutions. IVW Colloquium, Kaiserslautern, 6-7 November 2012 [9] Medina, L.: Natural Fiber Reinforced Composites – Standard Materials, Applications, and New Trends. Academic Summit Workshop, Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH, Kaiserslautern, 2-3 July 2012 Fig. 7: NF-mat (a), NF-fabric (b) and NF-non-crimp fabric (c) bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/13] Vol. 8 21

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