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Issue 03/2015

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Biocomposites Basalt

Biocomposites Basalt fibers in biocomposites SmartCart galley cart made with FibriRock Load floor with basalt/flax/bioresin in the skins and an aramid paper core Ski’s, snowboards, hockeysticks, etc. are examples for the use of basalt fibres in the sports/leisure sector Property Basalt and furan resin give excellent abrasion performance (200,000 cycles) Value Tensile strength (ASTM D2343) 2,700 – 3,200 MPa E-Modulus (ASTM D2343) 84 – 87 GPa Elongation at break 3.15 % Density 2.67 g/cm 3 Melting point 1,450 °C Minimum operating temperature -260 °C Maximum operating temperature 600 °C Fire blocker Up to 1,200 °C Basaltex ® is a Belgian based company who introduced the basalt fiber to the European Market. It has many years of experience in basalt fibers and its applications. Basalt fibers are made from natural basalt rocks and unlike other materials such as glass fiber, essentially no other materials are added. The basalt stones are molten at 1,400 – 1,450 °C and then extruded into continuous filaments of basalt fibers. The basalt fibers have mechanical properties that are better than glass, but are a lot cheaper than carbon or glass. However, due to good thermal properties of basalt and the fact that the fiber doesn’t burn, it is a fiber mostly used in fire resistant applications. Over the years Basaltex has been working closely together with customers to develop custom made basalt fiber solutions for primarily the technical textiles and composite sector. As like in any sector, sustainability is increasingly important and the search for sustainable and bio-solutions within composites is a constant trend. As basalt is one of the most common types of rock in the world, it has nontoxic properties and due to the very low consumption (1– 1.5 %) of chemicals during the production of basalt fibers, it is an ideal material to use in sustainable solutions. Fire resistant composite applications Within public transportation sectors regulations are only getting more stringent and this pushes towards the removal of phenolic based composites. Basaltex has developed in collaboration with Centexbel, NetComposites and TWI a bio based prepreg which outperforms E-glass/phenolic composite systems on both mechanical properties with equal to better fire performance. The basalt fabric is impregnated by a bio-resin (sugarcane-bagasse based furane resin) and can be cured in both conventional ways like vacuum bagging and compression moulding, but also more sustainable ways like micro-wave curing. The cured laminate is as such a 100 % fully bio composite (i. e. all carbon in the composite comes from renewable resources and none comes from petroleum. The basalt itself does not contain any carbon.) with excellent fire resistant properties. Tensile strength (MPa) 500 400 300 200 100 0 326 344 Basalt vs. E-glass laminate ISO 527-5 441 E-Modulus (GPa) 20.9 18.6 ISO 527-5 25.6 E-glass/ phenolic E-glass/ bioresin Basalt-bioresin 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 34 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/15] Vol. 10

Biocomposites A second example is the FibriRock composite that is used in the lightweight SmartCart galley cart. This composite panel is made by EcoTechnilin and has won the Sustainability Award at JEC Composites Paris 2015 and the 3 rd price at the Innovation Award Bio-based Material of the Year 2015. This is an example of basalt fibers used in combination with other natural fibers in a sugar-based bio-resin. Except for the aramide core, this product is fully bio-sourced. The properties of the composite panel are lightweight, robust, good fire smoke toxicity performance, good mechanical performance (9G pull test), fast manufacturing process, it is mouldable, has good abrasion resistance and is low cost. The composite panels can be used for load-floors and trim panels, for both transport and construction. Other applications Another sector where basalt is often used is Sports & Leisure. In the early days a camera tripod was made using basalt fibers and an epoxy matrix, since then manufacturers of ski’s, snowboards, hockey-sticks, etc. found basalt fibers as an ideal fiber for its better mechanical properties than E-glass and lower cost than carbon. Some boat manufacturers have been using basalt multi-axial fabrics for hull reinforcement and mainsail reinforcement and have seen excellent performance. It seems that there is a nearby inexistent osmosis degrade, but specific research has to be carried on further. Within the above mentioned applications there is a change towards bio-grade epoxy resins, choosing basalt fibers or fabrics as reinforcement is only a logical ecological consequence. Currently these changes are made especially in more luxury and high end consumer markets. These consumer segments are more passionate about sustainability when it comes to purchase considerations. Future developments Basaltex will continuously develop both customer specific solutions and own products. The company will continue offering competitive products that meet the needs of the customers while trying to enhance the environmental impact of the end product. The target will be to share the successes of fully bio-based/sourced products with other markets. Larger consumer markets like automotive will be one of the first where the potential and demand is there for green solutions. By: Jeroen Debruyne Operations Manager Basaltex NV Wevelgem, Belgium Visions become reality. COMPOSITES EUROPE 22.– 24. Sept. 2015 Messe Stuttgart 10. Europäische Fachmesse & Forum für Verbundwerkstoffe, Technologie und Anwendungen | Organised by Partners bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/15] Vol. 10 35

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