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Composites Evolution's Biotex Flax/PLA Materials Used in 100% Biodegradable Furniture

15 October 2013

Composites Evolution’s Biotex commingled Flax/PLA materials have been chosen by a furniture designer from Sheffield Hallam University to develop novel biodegradable furniture.

Roger Bateman, Senior Lecturer in Design at Sheffield Hallam University, spent a year working with student Matt Harding on the BioFurniture project.

The project, in collaboration with NetComposites in Chesterfield, started as a study to see whether plant-based materials could be used to make furniture components, instead of petrochemical-based plastics.

Bateman then began designing furniture products that used Biotex Flax/PLA, supplied by Composites Evolution, as structural, lightweight panel components, to replace less environmentally-friendly, man-made board, such as MDF or chipboard.

The resulting product is made entirely from flax and PLA, a natural plastic derived from maize, and will eventually decompose.

Roger Bateman stated “Sustainable furniture design have so far focused on using recyclable materials, so that when the product reaches the end of its lifespan it can be recycled and made into other products.”

"This product approaches sustainability in a completely different way by being made from renewably-sourced biopolymers. This means that there are more options for disposal of the product at the end of its lifespan -- and it can even be composted."

Brendon Weager, Managing Director at Composites Evolution, commented “It’s always exciting for us to see our materials being used in new and interesting applications. The BioFurniture project is an excellent example of how Biotex Flax/PLA can give desirable environmentally-friendly properties, while still being lightweight, functional and aesthetically pleasing.”

Bateman and Harding worked with Sheffield based cabinet makers My Father’s Heart who manufactured the timber framework for a Biotex clad cabinet. The completed cabinet was exhibited in partnership with Coexistence, one of the UK's leading furniture showrooms, during the London Design Festival and will be displayed on the Composites Evolution stand (C128) at the Composites Engineering show, 12-13 November, NEC Birmingham, UK.

Photo provided by Sheffield Hallam University.