DITF : Fiber composites made from biopolymers

Fiber composites made from biopolymers

Starting materials for the production of sustainable composites (Source: DITF)
Starting materials for the production of sustainable composites (Source: DITF)

Organosheets are increasingly being used within the fast-growing segment of  lightweight fiber composite construction. The textile reinforcement of organosheets consists mainly of glass, carbon, basalt or aramid fibers. These fibers have high stiffnesses and tensile strengths, but are energy-intensive to manufacture and recycle and can only be recycled in an increasingly low-grade condition.
In collaboration with the project partners CG TEC, Cordenka, ElringKlinger, Fiber
Engineering and Technikum Laubholz, the DITF are developing a new fiber composite material (CELLUN) with reinforcing fibers made of cellulose. The matrix of the material is a thermoplastic cellulose derivative that can be processed using industrial processing methods such as hot pressing or pultrusion. CELLUN made from renewable biopolymers enables the replacement of glass or carbon fibers in the production of industrial molded parts.
In contrast, the CELLUN composite developed at the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF) in Denkendorf/Germany, is a much more sustainable alternative. For the production of CELLUN, the reinforcing component is combined from non-fusible cellulose fibers as well as thermoplastic derivatized cellulose fibers as matrix to form a hybrid roving. The cellulosic reinforcing fibers used are  regenerated fibers from the company Cordenka and the HighPerCell cellulose fibers developed at DITF.

CELLUN is now being further developed to industrial maturity as part of a joint project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), Berlin. The tasks of the DITF in the CELLUN joint project are primarily the production of suitable cellulose-based reinforcing fibers and the embedding of the fibers in the thermoplastic cellulose derivative matrix. The material is further processed in the in-house pilot plants into technical hybrid rovings and hybrid textiles. Using pultrusion and thermoforming processes or injection molding, molded parts can finally be produced that illustrate the technical application possibilities of the new material.

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