Along with a number of partners, HOFZET – the Application Center for Wood Fiber Research of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Hanover/Germany – has developed new forms of bio-hybrid fiber reinforced composites (bio-HFCs) containing the highest possible bio-based content.
The development work is being carried out on a special double-rapier weaving loom and jacquard attachment from Van de Wiele NV, Kortrijk/Belgium, – the only one of its kind in Europe – at the Open Hybrid Lightweight Campus (OHLF) in Wolfsburg/Germany, not far from Volkswagen AG’s parent plant. The OHLF weaving technology is enabling the Fraunhofer experts to cost-effectively produce materials with complex, application-specific textile structures and integrated functions, in widths of up to 50 cm.
At present, a key HOFZET research focus is on composite reinforcements with a thermoplastic matrix (organo-sheets) which offer reversible deformation and recycling potential in comparison with thermoset composite materials. The weaving loom enables the integration of thermoplastic matrix fibers into hybrid textiles as perfect thermoplastic prepregs. These prepregs can be shaped to a required form and turned into composites using hot pressing technology.
HOFZET next plans to make various modifications to the unique, advanced weaving system, in order to manufacture special spacer fabrics, for which the Van de Wiele jacquard will also play an integral part. A special feature of the jacquard is that every warp of the fabric can be controlled individually. This results in an unlimited variety of patterns. By using different patterns it is also possible to change the structure from one-layer to multi-layer fabric in a single process.