As part of these efforts, research consortium member Miyagi Kasei Co., a processor of thermoset composites using processes such as resin transfer molding (RTM) and infusion molding, has teamed up with boutique Japanese automaker Mitsuoka Motor and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to develop an engine hood and interior components such as door trim and speaker cases made from 40% glass fiber reinforced epoxy composite with a 17% lignin content. The lignin is incorporated in powder form, and contributes to part lightweighting of 4% as well as lower emissions of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and styrene during processing.
Shinichi Iwata, Senior Chief of the Plan Development Department at Miyagi Kasei says they have also experimented with carbon fiber reinforced composites where the addition of 17% lignin can reduce the number of carbon fiber plies necessary to attain the same mechanical strength. Iwata cites a test part where four plies were used instead for five to realize the same strength at a part mass that us 17.5% lighter.
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This article was published plasticstoday.com and written by Stephen Moore