New Classes of Engineering Composite Materials from Renewable Resources
This project aims to develop engineering composite materials made entirely from renewable resources. These bio-composites are composed of bio-derived resins reinforced by natural fibres and address the issue of environmental sustainability for future consumer and engineering products.
Future product design requires sustainable processes and eco-innovation in material development and engineering applications. Bio-composites are being developed to address issues such as resource saving, lightweight, low cost, and eco-efficiency through stages of a product’s life cycle. A number of bio-composite systems (e.g. wood-filled polymers) are commercially available, but currently they are unable to compete with traditional composites due to their relatively low mechanical properties and durability.
The main objective of this project is to obtain a breakthrough for SMEs in the development and use of engineering thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers and reinforcing materials mainly from natural resources, such as polylactide and furan resins and woven and non-woven cellulose fibres and fibre mats. A number of demonstrator components will be specified and used to drive the development of suitable materials. Once the materials have been developed and the properties required by the specifications have been met, a range of model products will be produced and tested. Following the proving of these prototype products, demonstrator parts will be designed, manufactured and tested, to support dissemination and exploitation of results and show the benefits of the materials.