Plastic composites and 3D printing
Plastics and reinforced plastics are economical, versatile and irreplaceable materials in many applications. The low-carbon goals and the circular economy highlight the use of bio-based raw materials in the manufacture of plastics, as well as the recycling and reuse of materials.
The main research themes include the use of bio-based additives such as wood-based and plant-based reinforcements in plastic composites and the tailoring of bioplastics to suit applications such as to conduct electricity or heat. The use of natural fibres in plastics reduces the need for virgin plastics, reduces the shrinkage/expansion of plastics and further enables the recycling of plastics. Natural fibres can also be used as a substitute for glass fibres, for example in reinforced plastics required by the boat industry. In addition, new materials open up opportunities for developing completely new types of products and innovations.
On top of the long-term performance of the material, the recyclability of the materials and the applicability of the recycled material to new products will be studied in the product development phase. The environmental impacts of materials and manufacturing technologies are also assessed by utilising a lifecycle analysis programme (SimaPro).
- plastics and modifying their properties (electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity)
- use of natural fibre reinforcements in plastic composites
- plastic machining: compounding, 3D printing
- life cycle assessments and recyclability
- material testing
- inorganic materials
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