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Fibre-based materials for non-clothing applications.

BIO4SELF aims at fully biobased self-reinforced polymer composites (SRPC). To produce the SRPCs two polylactic acid (PLA) grades are required: a low melting temperature (Tm) one to form the matrix and an ultra high stiffness and high Tm one to form the reinforcing fibres. To reach unprecedented stiffness in the reinforcing PLA fibres, we will combine PLA with bio-LCP (liquid crystalline polymer) for nanofibril formation. Further, we will increase the temperature resistance of PLA and improve its durability. This way, BIO4SELF will exploit recent progress in PLA fibre technology. We will add inherent self-functionalization via photocatalytic fibres (self-cleaning properties), tailored microcapsules (self-healing properties) and deformation detecting fibres (self-sensing).

Prototype composite parts for automotive and home appliances will be demonstrators to illustrate the much broader range of industrial applications, e.g. furniture, construction and sports goods. Our developments will enable to use biobased composites for high end applications, thus contributing to using sustainable and renewable raw materials. Being able to produce, process and sell these novel SRPCs and related composite intermediates will be a clear competitive advantage. First estimates predict a market of at least 35 kton/year, corresponding to ca. 165 M€, within 5 years.

BIO4SELF is a well balanced mix of end users (large enterprises to maximise impact), technology providers (mainly R&D driven SMEs), R&D actors (RTDs and universities) and innovation support (specialised SMEs). It covers the required expertise, infrastructure, and industrial know-how to realise the innovation potential of the novel high performance biobased SRPCs, both during and beyond the project.



One route that will be explored is the incorporation of bio-based thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer (bio-LCP). The bio-LCP will be blended with polylactic acid (PLA), in such a way that the bio-LCP forms droplets dispersed in the PLA. This will lead to the formation of bio-LCP fibrils inside the PLA fibre. The fibrils, having high mechanical properties, are expected to enhance the mechanical properties of the PLA fibre/yarn in the drawing direction


"The goal of the project is to develop fully biobased composite materials based on high performance nanofibrillar PLA fibres. To produce these composites, a low melting PLA matrix is combined with a high tenacity, higher melting PLA fibre. This reinforcing fibre is additionally being reinforced with bio-LCP nanofibrils to reach the requested high mechanical properties. A further goal is to develop self-functionalization of the composite materials, aiming to induce inherent self-cleaning (via photocatalytic fibres), self-healing (via tailored microcapsules) and self-sensing (via deformation detecting fibres) properties. Prototype parts for automotive and home appliances will be developed with the novel materials, aiming to thus demonstrate the broad application potential of the biobased self-reinforced materials."


The BIO4SELF project aims for biobased composites with unprecedented stiffness by combining PLA (the largest used biopolymer) with a bio-LCP (Liquid Crystalline Polymer) to create an extra reinforcement level. Also the temperature resistance of PLA and its durability will be improved. The latter via adding well-chosen anti-hydrolysis agents. Further, inherent self-functionalization via photocatalytic polymers (for self-cleaning properties), tailored microcapsules (for self-healing) and deformation detection fibres (for self-sensing) will be added.

The potential of the biobased materials will be shown via advanced prototypes for automotive and home appliances. Cost-efficient production of fully biobased composites meeting the demand for high technical performances and sustainability will be pursuit by investigating the performances of new biobased materials in plastic manufacturing