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Researchers at Warwick University’s Advanced Technology Centre have been working on new ways of producing thermoplastic composites under a project called APPLE –Advanced Polymeric Composite Panels with Low Environmental Impact.
APPLE is one of the research projects of Foresight Vehicle, an industry-backed initiative led by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The APPLE research aims to reduce the cost of mass-produced finished components, which can then be easily recycled at the end of their working lives.
Following greater environmental legislative pressures, composite thermoplastic parts are increasingly being developed by the automotive industry as an alternative to traditional materials.
Dr Mark Pharaoh, who heads the APPLE team, said: “This is exciting work which is already giving good results, but the potential for future developments are even greater. If we can produce complex structures, such as a car chassis, using these techniques it would be hugely beneficial. The plastic laminates can be stronger than steel, would have great durability and could be easily re-cycled”.
More than 400 UK companies and universities have been participating in the industry-backed initiative, known as Foresight Vehicle, currently being led by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
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