Cellulose Could Replace Short Glass Fibers in Composites
A new thermoplastic composite uses engineered cellulose fiber from trees, such as these logs in Kuopio, Finland, instead of the short glass fibers usually used for reinforcement. Applications include automotive parts and industrial components. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Okko Pyykkö)
Ann, this looks like a great use of material. Glass fibers do tend to eat machinery and molds in normal application, so a less abrasive fiber would be great. Has there been any look at using these fibers in nylon applications? Also, is the cost of the additive similar to that of the glass fibers?
Ann, ne thing I like about this product is that it is produced by materials we have naturally here in the US. With materials such as coconut, grow in a fairly narrow band of the planet. This tends to cause overharvesting in areas with low environmental controls.
Hmm, 40% shorter mold times, comparable weight and material properties, less tooling damage during manufacturing, and blendability with a variety of plastic base material. What's not to like about the new THRIVE?
I agree with the flammability issue and the possible overharvesting of dwindling resources. Still, it seems to be a good idea.
tekochip, that's a good point about flammability. The fact that Ford is working with Weyerhaeuser to develop materials for car interiors, plus the fact that these are engineered, not just natural, fibers, makes me think that potential problem may have already been addressed/compensated for. Here's a link to the MSDS for THRIVE, which gives a rating of 1 (0-4 scale): www.weyerhaeuser.com/pdfs/msds/501.pdf
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
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