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High-Performance Twistless Flax Materials Launched at Composites Europe

27 October 2009

A new family of materials, Biotex Commingled Flax/PP, Biotex Commingled Flax/PLA and Biotex Flax yarns, fabrics and preconsolidated sheets will be launched at Composites Europe in Stuttgart. The materials use a unique Twistless Technology to provide high levels of performance and processability normally associated with glass reinforced materials.

Although natural fibres are already being used to reinforce conventional plastics, for example in injection moulded or press moulded interior parts for the automotive industry, the natural fibres are generally short and randomly oriented giving relatively low mechanical properties. The Biotex materials are based on twistless yarns with long, aligned fibres to exploit the inherent mechanical properties of flax in load-bearing applications, with the added advantage of having a lower weight than conventional reinforcements such as glass fibres.

These fabric-based materials are believed to be the first of their kind, using long, aligned natural fibres to reinforce naturally derived plastics, and are said to provide a combination of sustainability, performance and processability not previously seen in composites.

Sustainability

Flax fibres are renewable and have a low environmental impact during processing. The matrix in commingled Biotex Flax/PLA is also derived from crops, giving a 100% renewable material that can also be recycled or composted at the end of its life.

Performance

Using Twistless Technology, the natural fibres in Biotex yarns are highly aligned to give up to 50% better fibre efficiency over conventional twisted yarns. The yarns are also easier to impregnate, giving improved fibre/matrix interaction and better performance.

Processing

The twistless fibres in Biotex yarns allow fast wet-out and impregnation. Biotex Flax/PP and Biotex Flax/PLA commingled materials include an intimate blend of the reinforcement fibre and matrix polymer for easy processing by vacuum consolidation or press moulding.

Dr Brendon Weager, Technical Manager for Biotex, said ”The development and use of renewable materials is becoming increasingly important in today’s environmentally conscious society. This new family of high-performance biomaterials is a major step towards harnessing the true potential of natural fibres and biopolymers, for the first time making high-performance biomaterials a reality.”

Biotex will launch at the Composites Europe Show on Stand C2/D02.

Biotex is a brand of Composites Evolution, which has a unique capability in providing high-performance natural yarns, fabrics and preconsolidated sheets tailored to the requirements of composite products and processes.





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