Biobased self-functionalised self-reinforced composite materials based on high performance nanofibrillar PLA fibres.
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 luggage, 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. Using the PLA SRPCs, BIO4SELF will demonstrate the first fully biobased suitcase, which partner SAMSONITE intends to commercialise to renew its top selling high end line (currently based on self-reinforced polypropylene).
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.
OSM is offering support in the field of exploitation, dissemination activities, market potential technology watch and web identity.