Development of Green Composite Structures

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Development of Green Composite Structures
Dr Stuart Coles and Dr Kerry Kirwan
Composites are used in today’s society for a wide range of applications, particularly those where
specific stiffness or strength are required. Commonly used reinforcements include glass, carbon and
aramid fibres; all of which pose problems in today’s sustainable society. Both glass and carbon fibre
are energy-intensive processes and aramid fibres require extensive and wasteful chemical
treatment.
Natural-fibre reinforced composites (NFRCs) present an interesting alternative to the conventional
fibres but have often performed poorly when the materials properties are compared. They also still
tend to be used with conventional, petrochemically-sourced resins which have a damaging
environmental impact. Resins derived from natural sources are starting to become available but the
nature and amount of true “bio” content remains low.
The main aim of the project is to create a biocomposite made from natural fibres and bioresins
sourced from 100% sustainable sources and then assess its potential uses.
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