A consortium of companies has begun working on the development of bio-sourced technical composites based on long bamboo fibers. The project partners are Assystem Technologies, Arkema, Cobratex, Specific Polymers, CIRIMAT, Compositadour, Lisa Aeronautics and Mécano ID.
The consortium hopes that BAMCO (Bamboo long fiber reinforced bio-based Matrix Composite) will provide an environmentally beneficial alternative to polymer composites, particularly given the potential impact of European REACh regulation.
In aircraft interiors, BAMCO could be used for cover panels, fuselage cladding panels and galleys. It could be used for finished components in the marine and leisure sports markets. The aim is to produce the first prototype components in 2021.
Assystem Technologies and CIRIMAT have already developed a bio-composite made using continuous bamboo fiber to reinforce a bio-sourced thermoplastic matrix. This has been validated in the laboratory, and the aim is to now validate the concept on the industrial scale.
The FUI BAMCO project will respond to this challenge, focusing on developing new bio-composites from long bamboo fibers. Although there are other solutions that use flax or hemp fibers, BAMCO is targeting bio-composites that it says will offer greatly reduced weight over replace glass/phenolic composites, along with great thermal resistance, strength and impact/vibration absorption. A further benefit is that bamboo grows rapidly, is efficient in its water and soil usage, and needs no fertilizers or pesticides.
The developer of the innovation, Assystem Technologies, is now designing prototype components. The company also provides the project’s governance structure.
The formulation and application of the bio-sourced polymers used for the composite matrices is being undertaken by Arkema and Specific Polymers.
Cobratex will research and propose candidate species of bamboo; optimize its conversion process and reinforcement technologies; and upscale the techniques used to apply the technical reinforcement solutions and semi-finished products developed by CIRIMAT.
Research laboratories CIRIMAT and Compositadour are involved in using the bio-composites in the laboratory, and on an industrial scale respectively. CIRIMAT will focus on the design and laboratory-scale production of continuous bamboo fiber composites using thermoplastic and thermosetting matrices.
Meanwhile, Mécano ID will conduct vibration absorption tests and model bio-composite behavior, and aircraft manufacturer Lisa Aeronautics will incorporate a prototype component in its future aircraft.