The manufacturing of Flax Fibre Composites: A major advance in the field of bio-based Composites made with reinforcements of natural origin
Composite materials based on natural fibres are gaining in popularity as sustainable alternatives to traditional composite materials derived from non-renewable resources and petrochemicals. Among these alternatives, particularly those based on bio-sourced materials, flax fibre composites stand out as an innovative ecological choice and are emerging as new tools for numerous industries.
Composites made from flax fibre offer a unique combination of performances, combining strength, lightness and a low environmental footprint, opening the way to a wider range of applications in sectors such as automotive, aerospace, construction, sport and many others.
The advantages of bio-based composites made with flax fibre reinforcements
Flax fibre composites and reinforcements derive their advantages from the nature of flax itself, a natural, renewable and eco-responsible resource. Flax fibres offer respectable mechanical strength while being lighter than many traditional materials. As a result, flax composites are helping to reduce the overall weight of materials and structures, while providing a new solution in the quest for enhanced performances in the automotive industry, for example.
Found in ‘eco-materials’ composites, flax fibres are biodegradable and have a very low environmental footprint throughout their life cycle. This contrasts with synthetic fibres, such as fibreglass, which can generate wastes that are difficult to recycle after use. Linen fibre-based composites and reinforcements therefore meet the growing demands of sustainable development and respect for the environment.
Preparation of the flax fibre
The fibres are scutched, combed, paralleled and homogenised to obtain a sliver with stable mechanical properties whatever the climatic hazards that may be encountered during flax growing.
To obtain different configurations such as Twill, Plain, UD, Satin, etc.
Moulding of materials
This can be pressureless moulding, vacuum moulding, compression moulding, injection moulding, pultrusion, filament winding, etc. The aim of impregnation is to develop bio-based materials to give shape of the desired final product. At this stage, the reinforcement of the composite material (flax or hemp fibres) is then impregnated with resin.
Depending on the resin used, often thermosetting in the case of flax, composite materials take on their final shape with the help of heat or pressure. Heat solidifies the complex (matrix and reinforcement). The composite material is then ready for machining, painting or coating.
Applications and future of Composites based on eco-materials
Flax-based bio-sourced composites are a source of interest in various sectors. In the automotive industry, they can be used for interior and body components, reducing vehicle weight and improving vehicle comfort (vibration absorption, acoustics), performances and energy efficiency.
In the sports and leisure sectors, composites can be used to manufacture parts for bicycles, boats, surfboards, skis, etc.
Biosourced composites based on flax fibre offer a promising solution for the manufacture of sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials. Their manufacture respects the principles of the circular economy by using renewable resources and reducing wastes. With the advancement of research and development, these composites could play an increasingly important role in creating a sustainable future for the manufacturing and construction industries.