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Natural Fibers in Automotive Applications

SpecialChem / Aug 1, 2008

Automotive components made with materials from renewable resources have moved successfully from pipe dreams long ago to the state-of-the-art applications of today. Natural fibers are enjoying a comeback in high-tech development. The related research has experienced an explosion of interest, particularly with regard to natural fiber's comparable properties to glass fibers within composites materials. Above all, the automotive industry is interested because cars have been required to be partially decomposable or recyclable since 2006. The main area of increased usage is in interior applications, because the need is the greatest here. A DEFRA report from 2002 projected the growth rates for bio-fibers in automotive components at 54% per year. In the last decade bio-fiber reinforced polymer composites have been embraced by European car makers for door panels, seat backs, headliners, package trays, dashboards, and trunk liners. Recently the trend has reached North America where bio-fiber composites are gaining widespread acceptance.

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