From an early introduction in aerospace, military and sports materials, glass fiber and carbon fiber composites are now rapidly expanding to automotive and transport applications. However, current materials are petroleum-based, structured at the microscale and have insufficient fire-retardant properties.
We address these shortcomings by proposing to develop green and scalable processes to produce lightweight and fire-retardant organic/inorganic foams and composites. The work will focus on industrially up-scalable colloidal processing concepts and low-cost nanosized components such as cellulose nanofibrils and clay platelets.
The project builds on our recent advances in producing new types of polymer foams, nanopaper composites and nacre-mimicking high-clay-content composites from renewable organic materials. The intention is to link the transport and building material industry to the forest industry in the development of lightweight cellulose-based materials. Demonstrators, i.e. materials and processing concepts, will be developed, using a combination of experiments and modeling. The project is multidisciplinary, combining composites, fiber science and inorganic chemistry.