Stemergy: Renewable Fibre Technology

Flax Composite Wins JEC Innovation Award

19 May 2010

At the JEC Composites Show in April, Huntsman Advanced Materials used an exhibition stand with pillars built using a composite of flax fibre and epoxy resin.

Huntsman worked with Lineo, a Belgium company specialising in flax reinforcements, and designer D3 to produce the stand. Lineo, working with Huntsman and two other organisations, also won the Bio-Based Materials category of the JEC Innovation Awards 2010 for a flax yarn-based prepreg.

The pillars of the Huntsman stand were made using an infusion process.

Lineo infused the flax yarn with Huntsman's Araldite® LY 1564/Aradur® 3487, a warm curing epoxy system. Lineo has developed a way of blending the flax with the epoxy resins in such a way that absorption of water from the flax is prevented and strong bonds between the flax fibres and the epoxy resin are created. Lineo matched the colour of the booth by adding yellow to the flax/epoxy blend using a method based on textile colouring technology.

“We had to work to very tight deadlines to produce the coloured flax fabric which we sized with the Araldite resins to make ready for infusion,” reports Francois Vanfleteren, CEO of Lineo. “We had no problems working with Araldite resins as we had already worked with them on sports equipment and the construction of a boat reinforced with flax fibres.”

“There is a tremendous design potential for this eco-friendly material,” says Céline Paillard, Head of Research and Development, D3. “The look, feel and its performance benefits plus the huge range of colours that are available makes this new ‘green' composite a very exciting design material for a number of different areas. We will certainly be using it, especially in our contemporary furniture work.”

The material also has intrinsic flame resistance properties, Paillard adds.

This new composite is expected to find applications in the sports, leisure, furniture and transportation sectors. Commercial production has already started in the area of cycling and tennis products.

Source: http://www.reinforcedplastics.com

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Stemergy bio-fiber is focused on producing and supplying renewable bio-fibres - derived from annual stem fiber plants such as flax and hemp - to the expanding global bio-fiber marketplace.