Novel water-insensitive curing system for bio-fiber reinforced composites

  • Fiber reinforced composites based on peroxide-cured unsaturated polyester
  • Efficient curing using humid and even wet bio-fibers
  • JEC Innovation Awards winner, category: Resins

AkzoNobel’s has developed an innovative curing system for the production of lightweight bio-fiber based composites with a significant lower CO2 impact. The patented cure system allows the use of bio-fibers in humid (undried) conditions for the production of fiber reinforced composites based on peroxide-cured unsaturated polyester.

The drawbacks of bio-fibers when used in unsaturated polyester (UP)

When used in unsaturated polyester (UP) systems, bio-fibers need to be dried and processed immediately to avoid moisture pickup from the atmosphere. If not, the cure will not be sufficient and the composite will not cure or be of poor quality. This makes the production of large parts almost impossible. Furthermore, the investments in ovens and the additional processing step make UP bio-fiber composites very expensive. This issue seems to have been one of the major barriers to the entry of bio-fibers in the unsaturated polyester (UP) composite industry.


Efficient curing using humid and even wet bio-fibers

This new curing system (based on replacing the cobalt accelerator with a newly developed alternative) enables efficient curing of UP composites based on humid and even wet bio-fibers. This means that producers can simply replace their glass reinforcement with the right bio-fiber reinforcement and produce their parts as they are used to (predominantly in infusion processes).

It has been proven that the use of wet fibers in combination with this innovative curing system does not deteriorate the mechanical properties and, in many cases, even improves them. In addition, the use of bio-fibers has many advantages, ranging from lower weight to a very limited environmental footprint of the composite.

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