New European Horizon 2020 innovation project launched on ultrastrong, fully biobased composite materials

From PLA raw material to actual products – an overview of the BIO4SELF project scope (PresseBox) ( Pfinztal, )
Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology, Department for Polymer Engineering, is part of the newly approved Horizon 2020 project BIO4SELF. Within this innovation project, Fraunhofer ICT will, as part of a European consortium, contribute to the development of novel PLA materials for composites.

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.

Fraunhofer ICT will be responsible for the development of PLA compounds of different melting points and functionalities like self-sensing, e.g. for structural parts in construction, trucks as well as the development of a technology allowing the reduction of odour emissions of PLA-compounds. Additionally Fraunhofer ICT is involved in the process development for tailored tape lay-up, the production of injection-moulded parts and the thermoforming on semi-industrial scale. Fraunhofer ICT will subsequently create guidelines for industrial scale-up of with the target to define process specific guidelines in order to identify fabrication specifications (e.g. material specifications, planning, work instructions and test plans) based on the technical performances achieved at pre-prototype level.

The BIO4SELF consortium is strongly industry driven, including 5 large enterprises and 5 SMEs. These are completed with 3 universities and 3 research centres. This way BIO4SELF covers all required expertise and infrastructure from academic, applied research and industry from 10 different EU countries (for a detailed overview of the consortium, see next page).

BIO4SELF is an Horizon 2020 project and is co-funded by the European Union (grant of € 6.8 million). It will last 40 months and started on March 1st, 2016. It is coordinated by Centexbel, the Belgian research centre for textiles and plastics.
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