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Issue 05/2015

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Fibers & Textiles New

Fibers & Textiles New biobased fibres for automotive interior applications The automotive sector currently generates large volumes of solid waste, particularly at the end of the vehicle’s life. By replacing different (petroleumbased) plastic textile components by more environmentally friendly solutions, the industry is trying to reduce its environmental impact as well as to add new, value‐adding functionalities to new products. In this context, the BIOFIBROCAR project (funded within the scope of the 7 th European Framework Programme) was initiated to explore the feasibility of substituting the polyester (PET) and polypropylene (PP) fibres currently applied in car interiors, by PLA‐based fibres. The duration of the project, which was successfully completed in June 2015, was 30 months. Nine partners (four research institutions: Aimplas, Aitex, STFI and ITA, and five SMEs: Addcomp Holland, Avanzare Innovación Tecnológica, Perchados Textiles, Weyermann and Canatura) from three different countries (Spain, Germany and the Netherlands) made up the project consortium. Requirements and limitations in the automotive industry An average car uses approximately 40 to 50 m 2 of fabric, which weighs an estimated 9 to 10 kg. Textile fibres are incorporated into many components, including tires, seat belts, hoses, interior panels, upholstery, sandwich panels for passive safety and impact absorption, composites and many others. According to different studies, the typical composition of a car by material is approximately 65 % steel, 6 % aluminium, 10 % plastic, 6 % rubber and 13 % other materials, such as glass or fibres, which yield too much waste. One of the solutions proposed by the project to reduce the quantity of waste or improve the recyclability of the different components has been the substitution of different polyester/polypropylene woven and non‐woven fabrics found in a vehicle interior, by novel PLA‐based fibres developed using melt spinning techniques. 1. Sun roofs 2. Roofs 3. Folding roofs 4. Sun blinds 5. Fuel filters 6. Column guards 7. Transmission tunnels 8. Batteries 9. Belts and hoses 10. Composites 11. Air bags 12. Seat belt anchors 13. Seat belts 14. Boot lining 15. Boot flooring 16. Exhaust pipes 17. Tyres 18. Roof interiors 19. Bodywork 20. Seats 21. Upholstery 22. Insulation 23. Window frames 24. Doors 25. Filters 26. Fuel tanks 27. Floor mats 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/15] Vol. 10

Fibers & Textiles By: Amparo Verdú Solís Extrusion Department Researcher AIMPLAS (Technological Institute of Plastics) Paterna, Spain PLA has good characteristics, many of them comparable or even better than those of conventional plastics derived from petroleum, which it makes suitable for a variety of uses. In comparison to PET and PP, which are the fibres mostly used at the moment in car interiors, PLA fibre meets almost all performance specifications of this application. The main limitation of conventional PLA is its thermal resistance; PLA softens at a temperature of around 52 °C, which limits its use in applications that require temperature resistance under pressure and conditions of environmental and chemical stress. The interior temperature in modern cars can easily exceed 80 °C on hot summer days. Melting temperature (°C) Modulus (GPa) 260 250 220 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 PCL PCL Biopolyester Biopolyester PHF PHF PLA PLA PLA blends PLA blends Starch blends Starch blends Cellulose derivatives Cellulose derivatives PE-HD PE-HD PP PP ABS ABS PET PET PS PS PA 6 PA 6 Project development and results Throughout the project, different approaches were followed in the quest to achieve a material with the desired properties. Aimplas, with Addcomp and Avanzare contribution, developed a compound that is able to fulfill the requirements for automotive interior applications, including such aspects as thermal resistance, fogging, odour emissions, VOCs and antimicrobial resistance. The PLA blend formulation and the processing conditions were key factors that determined the performance of the materials, since it has been proven that crystallization of PLA plays a very important role in the thermal resistance of this material. It proved possible to increase the softening temperature from 57 °C to 102 °C, without compromising the viscosity of the material, which could then be processed by extrusion melt spinning in order to obtain the fibers. These fibers were succesfuly converted into fabrics and non-woven samples in order to obtain a final prototype of a moulded door panel. Two non-woven layers and a woven fabric were combined into a composite consisting of 100% bio-based material. Tensile strength (MPa) Vicat (°C) 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 PCL PCL Biopolyester Biopolyester PHF PHF PLA PLA PLA blends PLA blends Starch blends Starch blends Cellulose derivatives Cellulose derivatives PE-HD PE-HD PP PP ABS ABS PET PET PS PS PA 6 PA 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/15] Vol. 10 17

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