Proposal Title Pilot Producion and Functionalization of Natural Fibers for Polymer Composites
Category Materials Science and Advanced Manufacturing
Abstract Sunstrand, LLC is presently developing a proprietary line of bio-material reinforcement and filler materials. The Sunstrand product line will integrate into many current composites manufacturing processes and compete directly with fiberglass for many applications. In addition to providing a sustainable material alternative to traditional ones, natural fiber composites can be designed to match mechanical properties of glass composites while at the same time reducing part weight. Three major factors have limited the use of bio-materials in composites. First, no scalable techniques exist in the United States to produce consistent fiber architectures which are compatible with existing major manufacturing processes. Second, all natural fibers absorb water from the air and direct contact. Third, the strength of natural fiber composites is less than that of glass. Sunstrand is addressing all three of these issues through a novel fiber extraction and treatment process. The tasks funded by a Kentucky Matching Award will focus on business relations, marketing, finalization surface treatments and development/optimization of a pilot production line. These materials can provide manufacturers with a reduced-cost reinforcing material that has similar specific mechanical properties to fiberglass. An untapped market exists for the use of bio-materials in compounded thermoplastics and thermoset composites. The Sunstrand product line will support the birth of a new industry that expands agriculture in the State of Kentucky and manufacturing jobs while encouraging global distribution of environmentally friendly products manufactured in the State of Kentucky. Moreover, increases in agriculture as a result of these new products, will help mitigate adverse environmental impacts and improve public health. This will be done by the inherent sequestration of carbon dioxide in the plant growth cycle, and a reduction in the pollution associated with the use of high-energy glass fiber processing techniques.
Amount Awarded $262,496
Keywords bio-materials, natural fibers, bamboo, hemp, surface functionalization, manufacturing, polymer composites, agriculture
Point of Contact William Riddle
[email protected]
Sunstrand, LLC
Location Louisville
Jefferson County