Composites, materials made from resin-reinforced fibres, are widely used in the car industry with the global market predicted to reach US $24bn by 2024. The most popular fibres have been fibreglass and carbon fibre, but these are non-renewable and energy intensive to produce.
Replacing fibreglass and carbon fibre with renewable biobased materials like flax promises to improve vehicle safety, sustainability, and carbon footprints. However, currently available flax-based composites are not water resistant and therefore cannot be used on car exteriors, severely limiting their applications.
This Ceres project is developing a novel process to make water-resistant biobased materials from industrial flax fabrics, which will allow far wider use of biobased composites across the automotive industry. Ultimately this will add value to agricultural products and agricultural waste, as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions.