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Issue 05/2020

  • Text
  • Polyurethane
  • Textiles
  • Fibres
  • Carbon
  • Renewable
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Sustainable
  • Packaging
  • Products
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Fibres & Textiles Polyurethanes / Elastomers Basics: Resorbable Biopolymers

Application News McLaren

Application News McLaren is pioneering sustainable composites in Formula 1 Carbon fibre has been around for decades. That’s not to say it’s old hat, it still plays a pivotal role in F1 – accounting for around 70 % of a modern-day F1 car’s structural weight. But what if, in this age of economic uncertainty and environmental responsibility, there was a cheaper and more sustainable alternative? McLaren (Woking Surrey, UK) has been working with Swiss sustainable lightweighting specialist Bcomp (Fribourg – Switzerland) to develop just that, starting with a natural fibre racing seat for Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris – the very first F1 car part to be made of renewable textile fibres. By optimising the mechanical properties of flax fibres through fabric architecture, it’s been possible to make a seat with the required strength and stiffness, but with a 75 % lower CO 2 footprint compared to its carbon fibre counterpart. “The use of natural fibre composites is the latest example of pioneering, composite materials innovation at McLaren,” explains McLaren F1 Team Principal Andreas Seidl. “Not only does this solution provide equivalent performance to carbon fibre, it represents another step forward in our evolving sustainability programme, while underlining our commitment to helping F1 turn its ambitious sustainability strategy into action.” Inspired by the thin veins on the back of leaves, Bcomp’s proprietary powerRibs technology provides a three-dimensional grid structure on one side of the seat, which is then used to reinforce Bcomp’s optimally spun and woven flax fibre reinforcement fabric, ampliTex. Made by twisting flax fibres to form a thick yarn grid, the powerRibs act as a backbone to the ampliTex flax fabric that is bonded to it. A more comphehensive article on this topic will follow in one of our future issues. MT www.mclaren.com | www.bcomp.ch Swatch is getting bio-reloaded Swatch (Biel, Switzerland) has always had its finger on the pulse – since the brand’s founding in 1983. The enfant terrible of Swiss watchmaking is now introducing its latest innovation: a collection of timepieces cased in materials sourced from nature. This marks the first time a watchmaker has succeeded in replacing all conventional by bio-sourced materials in a series production environment. Premiering in a collection that brings the iconic design of the first Swatch models to the present day, the brand is off to its next chapter : BIORELOADED ! Innovation has always been the drive defining the brand’s personality. The 1983 collection continues this tradition with two newly introduced bio-sourced materials extracted from the seeds of the castor plant (presumably bio-polyamides). All components naturally meet the high Swiss Made quality requirements that Swatch places on its products. Literally sealing the deal, the new packaging sets a new standard as well. Made of paperfoam, the material consists of an innovative mix based on potato and tapioca starch. As a result, the packaging produced with the injection molding process is fully biodegradable and can be recycled with paper waste or even composted right at home. A milestone as such deserves a special design to go with it : the 1983 collection takes its cues from the early days of the illustrious Swatch spirit. Six models offer reinterpretations of the first Swatch watches and feature bespoke typography created for the signage of the new Swatch Headquarters, leaving no doubt that the Swatch revolution has never stopped moving forwards. MT http://swat.ch/1983 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/20] Vol. 15

Application Automotive News Advantages of single-use compostable food containers “Why do you use single-use containers?” is one of the most commonly asked questions Planted Meals, a Vancouver, Canada, based vegan meal delivery service, gets. Single-use articles have recently become a somewhat controversial topic - which makes single-use containers a seemingly strange choice considering that one of the company’s goals is to make the world a more sustainable place, but not all single-use containers are made equally. Planted Meals has been looking for an environmentally friendly solution since their founding in 2018. A trial run with reusable glass containers ultimately proved to be too difficult to maintain. Storage, recollection, cleaning and the extra weight of the material were all factors that made the delivery service look for other options. The Vancouver based bioplastics company Good Natured Co. provided an alternative which proved to be a perfect fit. The material is 99 % plant-based PLA and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals like BPAs or phthalates. The materials basic building blocks derive from dextrose and sucrose of corn processing and is tested by ASTM D6400 standards showing the compostability of plant-based materials, confirming they will break down in a commercial compost facility within 180 days. Planted Meals decided to go with a biobased and compostable material despite the fact that most municipalities across Metro Vancouver do not take bioplastics in their compost. The company still considers bioplastics the best and most sustainable option for the city. They argue that, even though it takes (Photo: Planted meals) a long time for bioplastics to degrade in landfill (up to two years) traditional plastics comparatively take much longer. When comparing two years with thousands of years, choosing bioplastics was a nobrainer for the company. Planted Meals is currently working on a potential take-back program in order to help their customers properly compost the packaging. AT www.plantedmeals.ca Keeping robot mowers within bounds - a biodegradable solution The Swedish high-quality brand for gardening products and accessories, Grimsholm Green has collaborated with Trifilon, an innovative Swedish developer of sustainable biocomposites, on its latest robot mower accessory. Usually, when installing perimeter wires that keep robot mowers within bounds, plastic spikes are used to fasten it to the ground. Buried underground, the likelihood of these ever being collected for recycling is minimal. To address this problem Grimsholm turned to Trifilon to develop the first completely biodegradable solution - the new Grimsholm bio-spike. It is made from Trifilon Switch, a thermoplastic biocomposite made from renewable, non-GMO plantbased feedstocks and incorporating CO 2 sequestering hemp fibres sourced from eco-friendly EU farms. The matrix resins are starch-based PLA, made from responsibly-grown sugarcane and beetroot among other plants. Tough and strong, but still with a bio-look and feel, the bio-spike is designed to fully decompose. Unlike many compostable bio-materials, Trifilon Switch can be used in conventional injection molding machines and does not require special tooling or equipment. For Grimsholm, this project was also an opportunity to move production back to Sweden and lower its logistics’ CO 2 footprint. A tight collaboration between its sustainable bioplastic supplier, Trifilon, and its local manufacturing partner meant that the bio-spike was completely locally sourced close to its EU distribution hub. “This is one of the best examples we have seen so far when it comes to application suitability for our revolutionary Switch material. We know that it won’t be possible for a landscaper or home gardener to collect the spikes once they’ve been installed underground,” says Jeremiah Dutton, Head of Sales at Trifilon AB. “This makes a compostable spike the only reasonable alternative for a sustainable garden. It´s a perfect match between application and material.” AT www.grimsholm.com | www.trifilon.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/20] Vol. 15 39

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