Alternative to plastics

Flax, wood and cotton could soon replace plastics

Published: Sunday 31 August 1997

composite materials made up of flax, wood and cotton could soon be used as an alternative for conventional reinforced plastics. This would also lead to the creation of a new high-value crop for farmers. The new composite materials are very cost effective and easy to dispose off.

The project to develop composite materials, is likely to lead to a new generation of stable, high-performance bio-composites that will be used in automotive and aerospace industries. The plant fibres will provide a readily renewable resource.

These plant fibres are as useful as glass and carbon fibre. But being inherently water-reactive, they absorb water and swell in the presence of moisture.To prevent this, John Botton and his team at the Bio Composites Centre, University College of North Wales, have developed a process that will help industry to use such fibres for manufacturing a wide range of products. The project will help in upgrading the low-value agricultural produce and providing scope for a new type of rural industry.

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