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New environmentally-friendly composites to provide competitiveness for the construction and automotive industries

Fibre-reinforced composites are materials of great interest for very demanding sectors, such as the construction and the automotive industries, thanks to their low weight and the excellent mechanical properties they have.

Nevertheless, they still have some disadvantages related to the high cost and the environmental impact, since they do not meet the 3R elements (reduce, reuse and recycle), since they are hardly repairable or recyclable materials and whose reprocessing is not feasible. Moreover, most of the polymers and reinforcements used in their manufacturing come from non-renewable sources or require a very significant energy expenditure.

In order to respond to these challenges, AIMPLAS is taking part since last June in the European project ECOXY, coordinated by CIDETEC and in which researches are being developed to allow obtaining new epoxy resins and reinforcements for the construction and the automotive sectors more environmentally-friendly and more economically competitive.

For that purpose, new resin formulations are being used. They replace the hardeners commonly used by other which are dynamic, allow meeting the 3R and make possible their repair, the reprocessability of materials and also their recycling both mechanical and chemical. Besides, the project also includes the development of an advanced functionality: flame retardancy.

The result will be prototypes to be validated according to the standards and current certifications to be introduced in the automotive and construction industries. An environmental and socioeconomic assessment will be also performed.

This project, where thirteen partners from eight different countries take part, began last June and it will be completed in November 2020. ECOXY has been funded by the Joint Technology Initiative on Biobased Industries within the EU H2020 research and innovation programme.