FlexForm Technologies has been heavily involved in development of a new product that takes our FlexForm MT (non-woven mat) and adds Acrodur resin. The resulting product is a great fit for certain applications in Automotive, Office Furniture, Construction, etc.
(image source) Above you see an example of a molded door panel using natural fiber composites and Acrodur from molder Dräxlmaier Group (Vilsbiburg, Germany)
From BASF’s website: “Acrodur is a green, zero-emission acrylic thermoset resin for fibers and particles. ..This high-performance, lightweight, cost-effective and green composite saves costs and significantly reduces volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. As a formaldehyde-free binder with all its properties and advantages, Acrodur is an ideal thermoset material for demanding and emissions-critical processing and applications, whether in abrasive nonwovens for household and industrial purposes or nonwovens for automotive and filter applications.” BASF has also provided this handy Frequently Asked Questions link, which can be found here. You will see a range of questions and responses, such as “What is Acrodur? or “What is Green About It?”. This is a great place to start learning about this resin in laymen terms. And, of course you can always learn more about our natural fiber composites at our website.
But, why are the two technologies-one resin and one natural fiber composites-so well suited to each other? There was an interesting article in Composites World in 2010. “Interior Innovation: The Value Proposition” stated that “Acrodur starts out as a solution polymer (dispersed in water) that is said to have an extreme affinity for binding with fibrous or particulate reinforcements because of its very low viscosity and its chemistry, which forms both mechanical and chemical bonds to reinforcements. It’s especially synergistic when paired with natural fibers because the resin not only coats but also penetrates the fiber shaft. ” For this reason, we have been pursuing development of a product using FlexForm MT (non-woven mat) and the Acrodur resin.
As I mentioned above, this technology goes beyond the automotive industry. Seth Stem, professor at Rhode Island School of design has created a chair for outdoor seating using natural fiber composites from FlexForm Technologies and Acrodur resin. This is a great example of where wonderful design meets innovative technology. We are excited to be involved in this new technology and we can’t wait to see it adopted more widely in industry.