Biocomposites in Automotive Applications
The automotive sector has taken a keen interest in lightweighting as new required performance standards for fuel economy come into place. This strategy includes parts consolidation, design optimization, and material substitution, with sustainable polymers playing a major role in reducing a vehicle’s weight. Sustainable polymers are largely biodegradable, biocompatible, and sourced from renewable plant and agricultural stocks. A facile way to enhance their properties, so they can indeed replace the ones made from fossil fuels, is by reinforcing them with fibers to make composites. Natural fibers are gaining more acceptance in the industry due to their renewable nature, low cost, low density, low energy consumption, high specific strength and stiffness, CO2 sequestration potential, biodegradability, and less wear imposed on machinery. Biocomposites then become a very feasible way to help address the fuel consumption challenge ahead of us.