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?
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
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.
Lou, I understand your POV on US materials sources. Actually Weyerhaeuser owns forests in various parts of the world and expects to source cellulose from them as needed. Forests that can be harvested for wood products in northern temperate zones (there aren't many in southern ones) are no longer as common as you might think, including in the US.
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.
Sounds like a waste product they are trying to find a use for. From the specs it's rreally just a filler pounded into dust so fine it won't show on the surface.
It's flamability is higher because it's so fine but the resin is more flamable so the point is moot. Wood actually is far less flamable than synthetic ones. The navy went to all polyster uniforms until they went up in flames regretfully with sailors in them so they switched back to cotton blends I believe.
That's an interesting story about polyester vs cotton and the flammability of natural vs synthetic materials. I remember as a kid in the 50s-60s hearing about the flammability of synthetic clothing material, which, I believe, is when many of the standards were developed for clothing material flammability.
Just as bad is it melting on the skin then when you slap it to put it out it sticks to the hand and spreads sticking to the skin where it was buring/melting. Not a good way to go.
Living in Fla pure polyster is just too hot and uncomfortable in the summer. Though I really like rayon which is about the most comfortable cloth usually, slightly better than cotton and doesn't seem as flamable as polyester or nylon. A good 65% cotton, 35% polyster works fairly well and cuts the problems of pure cotton or pure poly.
Jerry, that poly-cotton mix sounds like what I liked best for hiking clothes in my backpacking days. Cotton was supposed to be a no-no among backpacking enthusiasts because it takes so long to dry, either when wearing it, or when washing it at the campsite. But I found 100% polyester and other non-natural clothing to be too hot and sticky for comfort, no matter how it was made.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.