Promising mechanical testing results for new biocomposite materials developed by SeaBioComp

Even if conventional natural fiber reinforced polymer composites show equivalent mechanical properties and lightweight performance compared to glass fiber reinforced composites; in terms of stiffness, viz. specific stiffness (the ratio of Young's modulus to density), their low strength has been a technical barrier for their widespread adoption in different industrial sectors.

In particular, the brittleness of flax fibers and biopolymers such as PLA has been a main drawback of such materials. In the SeaBioComp project, we have developed a new composite system by implementing two different reinforcements, i.e. flax fibers and PLA fibers, into a coPLA matrix.

While flax fibers bring the stiffness, ductile PLA fibers can enhance the strength and reduce the weight of the composite materials owing to its low density.

From the mechnical test results, it has been proven that the specific strength (i.e. the ratio of strength to density) of this new biocomposite material is equivalent with that of sheet moulding compound (SMC) which is currently one of the most popular composite materials, whereas its specific stiffness is superior to that of SMC.

Moreover, even a complex part with a stiffener can be manufactured without wrinkles by the conventional compression molding of a dry fabric preform whose processing temperature is the same as that of SMC compression moulding.

Another advantage is that the storage life time is almost infinite whereas thermoset-based composites such as SMC should be conserved at a low temperature within a limited duration.

Among some potential industrial applications is a skim-board which has been fabricated by hand-layup of thermoset resin and fibers using a process that is labour intensive and using materials that have heavy carbon footprints.

A scientific paper is being prepared to present the results of this development and will be reported via this website in 2022.

More information about the specific characteristics of the materials being developed by the SeaBioComp project can be downloaded from the website at the following link:

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Posted 2021-12-14 17:49:26

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