Archive for June, 2012

Automotive Applications with Less Polypropylene (PP)

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

 

“An average passenger car contains 130 pounds of polypropylene (PP), but each year that number drops by approximately 0.70lbs because of better flowing materials, which allow wall stock to be reduced”…, Alexander Buechler, owner and publisher of HB Media goes on to explain that the reduction in heavy fillers like talc, and foamed PP means less weight. 

FlexForm is an alternative.   Made with a combination of natural fibers such as kenaf, hemp, flax, jute and sisal blended with thermoplastic polymers such as PP and polyester.  Flexform is answering the call for lighter weight materials that meet or surpass the performance requirements automotive.  

For further information regarding the use of natural fiber in a vehicle, to reduce weight, please visit www.FlexFormTech.com to learn about molding the future with natural fiber composites.

In addition, the SPE TOP Automotive Engineering Polyolefin Conference, to be held September 30 – October 3, 2012, this year in Troy, Michigan (Troy Marriott), in the suburbs of Detroit.  This show will highlight advances in polyolefin materials, processes, and applications technologies as well as growing range of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs).


Bast Fibers

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Natural fibers can broadly be divided into three classes one of them being bast fiber, consisting of flax, hemp, jute and kenaf.  They are annually renewable crops, growing in 90 to 100 days.   Bast fibers originated from the stems of the plant.   Usually they are very long and across the entire length of the stem.  Unlike synthetic fibers, bast fibers are made up of bundles of fibers.  These bundles are broken down mechanically or chemically to achieve the fineness required.  The degree of this breakdown, in turn, dictates their end use.

The outer layer is the bark, followed by the bast fiber, followed by the pectin, core fiber and then air in the center.  The fiber is around the outside of the plant and comprises one-third of the weight.  The center (core) resembles balsa wood and has many uses; one is as oil absorbent.  In India and Bangladesh, it is mostly used as firewood. 

Bast fiber composites are predominantly used in automotive interior panels, such as doors, pillar trim, trunk liners and package or rear-parcel trays.  Early composites, replacing wood fiberboard, were a mixture of flax and sisal fibers in an epoxy matrix.  The fibers are generally supplied in a needle-punched non-woven mat format. 

For further information regarding the use of natural fiber in a vehicle, visit www.FlexFormTech.com to learn about molding the future with natural fiber composites.