The use of fibre-reinforced plastic composites in the automotive industry has grown significantly in recent years because of their low weight, design flexibility and corrosion resistance. These however have significant emoddied and end-of-life environmental impacts.
Westfield Technology group are currently working on a 2 year Research and Development project, which is specifically looking at the manufacturing of sustainable, high-performance biocomposites for lightweight vehicles.
Working with NetComposites Ltd., University of East Anglia (UEA), Element Materials Technology and the Adapt Low-Carbon Group, Westfield Technology Group hope to develop the chemical modification of cellulose fibres to increase the mechanical performance of biocomposite materials.
Currently, such materials are used only in car interiors. Overcoming the limits to the durability of biocomposites will open up a vast market, with 80% of vehicle components capable of being manufactured in the UK; lowering the environmental footprint of the product – from resource depletion to climate change impact.
Resistance and cost-effectiveness