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Faurecia’s Flaxpreg™ Flax Fiber-reinforced Composite Sandwich Earns JEC EU Innovation Award

Published on 2015-04-03. Author : SpecialChem

Faurecia Flaxpreg™, a green and light very long flax fiber reinforced composite sandwich, has been awarded JEC Europe 2015 Innovation Award, in the semi-products category. Flaxpreg™ can be applied by automakers as a multi-position trunk load floor or a structural floor in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. The use of unidirectional long non–woven flax fibers as reinforcement is the key innovation allowing a drastic weight reduction.

The Flaxpreg™ project, developed by Faurecia with PSA Peugeot-Citröen, Lineo and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (France), started in 2011 and aims to design structural trim parts, following three key objectives: a drastic weight reduction, the use of renewable resources and a process in line with automotive cycle times and material costs constraints meeting the requirements of automotive mass production. Thanks to its very low density, Flaxpreg™ offers excellent mechanical properties allowing for a 35% weight reduction compared to traditional petro-based glass mat, polyurethane sandwich solutions.

“The originality of the Flaxpreg™ sandwich lies in the suppression of the spinning and weaving step, which first goal is to drastically reduce the production cost of the non-woven FlaxTape. It also offers superior mechanical properties thanks to perfectly in-plane aligned and non-twisted reinforcement fibers, which results in significant weight reduction,” stated Arnaud Duval, Acoustics Innovation Manager at Faurecia Interior Systems.

The first part of the Flaxpreg™ project consisted in developing a homogeneous easy to handle flax tape directly produced from flax ribbons, the raw material of the traditional spinning, thus avoiding the patented weaving step. The second part dealt with the impregnation of the acrylic resin directly in line in order to produce a pre-impregnated material known as prepreg. The third and final step consisted in developing the Flaxpreg™ sandwich construction using a paper honeycomb structure with cycle times under two minutes per part. Finally, Flaxpreg™ offers excellent vibro-acoustic damping properties.

The first targets for Faurecia with Flaxpreg™ are to address automakers for the structural trunk load floor market typically dominated by more traditional materials. Further applications such as package trays, door trims or seat backrests are currently under investigation. First series applications of Flaxpreg™ are expected to reach market in 2018 for European automakers.

About Faurecia

Faurecia is one of the world's largest automotive equipment suppliers in four activities: Automotive Seating, Emissions Control Technologies, Interior Systems and Automotive Exteriors. In 2014, the Group posted total sales of €18.8 billion. At December 31, 2014, Faurecia employed 99,500 people in 34 countries at 330 sites and 30 R&D centers. Faurecia is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange and trades in the U.S. over-the-counter (OTC) market.

Source: Faurecia

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