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High-Performance Flax/PLA Biocomposites to be Demonstrated at JEC 2011

28 March 2011

Composites Evolution will be displaying their extensive range of Biotex twistless flax materials on stand D76 at JEC 2011, and RocTool will be running live moulding demonstrations of Biotex Flax/PLA high-performance biocomposite throughout the show using their innovative induction heating technologies.

Biotex Flax/PLA is a 100% bio-derived and compostable composite with good mechanical performance and excellent aesthetic properties, making it suitable for a range of applications including automotive interior parts, consumer goods, furniture etc.

The combination of Biotex Flax/PLA commingled fabric and RocTools process is reported to be ideal, yielding moulded parts with very short cycle times, excellent surface finish and good mechanical properties. The rapid heating and cooling conveyed by RocTools selective induction heating avoids thermal degradation of the natural fibres and biopolymer which can occur with other processes.

Biotex Flax, commingled Flax/PLA and commingled Flax/PP yarns, fabrics and preconsolidated sheets were successfully launched 18 months ago and have been rapidly gaining acceptance in a range of applications.

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 materials offer far superior mechanical properties than those in injection moulded or press moulded parts where the natural fibres are generally short and randomly oriented. They are believed to offer 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.

Biotex Twistless Technology is backed up by 130 years of experience in spinning, weaving and finishing natural textiles, coupled with decades of experience in composite materials, processing and applications.

Biotex is exhibiting on stand D76 at the JEC show in Paris, 29th-31st March 2011. RocTool will be running live demonstrations with Biotex Flax/PLA at 9.30am and 2.00pm each day of the show on stand M31.






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