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Issue 01/2018

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Automotive Biodegradable

Automotive Biodegradable glass fibre By: Tomi Kangas Sales and Marketing Director Arctic Biomaterials Tampere, Finland Glass fibre (GF) is a well-known high-strength reinforcement material commonly used in thermoplastics and thermosets. Next to providing economic benefits, GF reinforcement also serves to enhance various mechanical properties such as stiffness, temperature resistance and dimensional stability. Now, Finland-based Arctic Biomaterials Oy has developed a more sustainable version of this reinforcement standby: a biodegradable glass fibre offering mechanical properties very similar to those of conventional glass fibre. ABM is able to offer a fully compostable (DinCerto EN13432 certified) composite material as an alternative to conventional plastics. The fibres, in combination with commercially available biobased and/or biodegradable polymers, offer a unique biobased and/or biodegradable composite solution to technical applications. The composites are produced by means of LFT (long fibre thermoplastic pultrusion) technology. The degradation (of the biodegradable versions) takes place only in a controlled environment (industrial composting), which means the materials are suitable for durable applications such as consumer electronics, automotive, houseware, furniture etc. The company The roots of ABM are actually not in the circular economy or industrial applications. The company was founded to provide solutions for the medical industry, and more specifically, the medical implant materials industry. In its role as partner to the medical industry, ABM successfully created a bioresorbable composite material with strong load bearing properties and bone growth stimulating ability. This was made possible through the use of ABM’s proprietary bioresorbable glass fibre as reinforcement. As a result, ABM´s medical customers were able to produce implants (screws, pins, anchors, etc.) that eventually dissolved into the human body, eliminating the need for secondary surgical procedures. In 2016, ABM decided to expand the reach of this technology into industrial applications. There was a clear need for biobased materials that could be used for demanding applications, to provide brands with a means to lower the carbon footprint of their products without compromising on product quality. The products Based on commercially available biobased polymers (PLA, PBS, PHB, etc.) and produced using proprietary ABM technologies, ABM’s composite solutions can be tailored for applications requiring high stiffness, impact strength, temperature resistance etc. ABM has formulated biobased alternatives that are able to replace many oil-based plastics. ABM produces three different families of composite materials for technical applications: 1) Biobased and biodegradable composites reinforced with biodegradable glass fibres. These ABM composite materials withstand temperatures of up to 155 °C (HDT/A) and have a stiffness of 14,500 MPa, or even 20,000 MPa with continuous fibres. The materials have been certified by Din Certo under the Seedling certification mark, which means they have undergone chemical, biodegradability, disintegration and ecotoxicity testing in accordance with EN 13432. 2) Biobased compounds (unreinforced) These ABM compounds can offer a notched impact resistance of 30 KJ/cm 2 (IZOD), among other customer required properties. ABM also offer solutions such as biobased antistatic and antimicrobial functionality. 3) Partially biobased composites and compounds ABM partially biobased compounds can offer solutions where applications require high temperatures (e.g. 200 °C) or other requirements that 100 % biobased polymers cannot meet, even with reinforcement. Applications The range of applications where ABM material can be used is very broad. While toys, furniture, consumer electronics and automotive are the main areas, the material is suitable for medical applications, as well. ABM is also looking to bring added value to biobased materials. One of the newest areas in R&D is the anti-microbial functionality that can be introduced to the materials. The concept has already been proven by external lab testing, and commercial products will soon be introduced. ABM can also formulate biobased materials with antistatic properties. The technology The technology developed by ABM is built on three main pillars: 1) Biodegradable glass fibres The mechanism by which glass fibre biodegrades is surface erosion: the glass dissolves into minerals, hydroxides and silicic acid after the polymer structure has lost its structured integrity. ABM produce the glass themselves and then draw this out into fibres. Using the LFT (long fibre thermoplastic pultrusion) process, the polymers are combined with the fibres and then cut to the required pellet lengths (2-20mm). ABM is actually one of the few glass fibre producers left in Finland today. 2) The knowledge of adhesion formulations The key aspect to improving mechanical properties through reinforcement is adhesion; specifically, the adhesion between the polymer and the fibre. ABM makes own formulations to find the perfect match for each biobased polymer used. The adhesive (sizing) is produced in-house. 3) The chemical knowledge of ABM experts Combined, the staff of ABM boasts over 200 years of experience with biopolymers, which is placed at their customers’ disposal, to develop solutions tailored to their customers’ needs. 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13

Automotive PLA adhered to fiber surface enabling good wetting of fiber and mechanical properties (PLA ruptured from surface of the biodegradable fiber) Biodegradable Glassfiber Reinforced Products 300 — 250 — IZOD Impact notched Tensile Streght Flexual Streght HDT A (1.8 Mpa) 250 200 — 150 — 100 — 109 177 110 126 215 160 107 180 209 105 150 160 155 207 50 — 40 12 23 20 18 0 — BGF40-G BGF40-A BGF30-JA PA12-GF30 PA6-GF30 Non-reinforced Biobased Products 180 — 160 — IZOD Impact notched Tensile Streght Flexual Streght HDT B (0.45 Mpa) 155 140 — 120 — 100 — 122 111 115 98 99 94 128 80 — 60 — 40 — 20 — 0 — 6 64 58 50 28 16 A1 A17 A17 IM 22 47 ABS 70 40 55 80 PC-ABS Partially Biobased Products 160 — IZOD Impact notched Tensile Streght Flexual Streght HDT B (0.45 Mpa) 140 — 120 — 125 122 128 135 100 — 80 — 60 — 40 — 84 57 95 62 55 98 47 79 94 40 55 70 70 66 98 20 — 22 0 — CA Bio25% ED4 Bio40% ABS PC-ABS PC bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13 17

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