The Thermofire project
The project THERMOFIRE has the objective to develop novel bio-based and recyclable composites with enhanced mechanical properties and fire resistance by using natural fiber reinforcements and bio-based halogen-free flame retardants. The production of these novel composite materials will be scaled up and 3 types of demonstrators will be developed: aerospace, automotive and textile applications.
The key results to be achieved during the THERMOFIRE project are:
- Up to 100% bio-based TP polymeric matrices, 20% lighter than traditional resins.
- New halogen-FREE and bio-based flame retardants with low toxicity compared to commercial ones.
- Environmentally friendly and low-cost biobased cellulose fibers as reinforcement with CO2 neutrality directly extracted from nature without further processing.
- Development of up to 100% bio-based TP composites with improved fire-resisting properties by using bio-based additives and/or by developing a new intrinsic bio-based polyamide 11 by introducing fire retardant monomer in its molecular chain.
- Verify the reusability and recyclability of the produced materials.
- Development of three prototypes adapted to the application requirements of the aerospace, automotive and textile sectors.
- Development of validation test of prototypes (TRL 5).
The THERMOFIRE project has fifteen specific objectives that are designed to deliver the project goal of developing bio-based and recyclable TP composites with bio-based flame retardants. The specific objectives cover 3 areas: Technological Objectives, Environmental Objectives and Economic Objectives.
6 Technological objectives
Development of up to 100% bio-based polymeric matrices with 20% reduction in CO2
Obtaining natural fibers (cellulose, flax) and making composite samples with the different Fire, Smoke and Toxicity Retardant (FST) PA11 formulation and natural fibers.
Select FST formulation (intrinsic FST PA11, FST by compounding of mix or mix of both solutions) fulfilling the FAR25 standard with the best Renewable Carbon content, by performing fire tests on composite samples.
Development of a composite based on the selected bio-based FST polyamide 11 formulation, natural fibers to be used as housing of electric car batteries in the automotive sector.
Development of a composite based on the bio-based FST polyamide 11, natural fibers to be used for replacing the aircraft seat shells in aerospace sector.
Development of a composite based on bio-based polymeric matrices, natural fibers and bio-based flame retardants for their use as binders in non-woven textiles.
5 environmental objectives
ENO1: The use of bio-based polyamides (obtain from castor oil) will allow increasing the sustainability of the material, and will avoid using sources whose carbon footprints are significantly higher.
The use of abundantly natural resources will have lower environmental impact, since the conditions to obtain these fibers require less time and energy
The use of bio-based halogen-free flame retardants will reduce the environmental impact.
The use of TP resins inherently increases the sustainability of the composite, since TP can be reused, reshaped and recycled.
Design of new methods for bio-polymer preparation with low environmental impact.
4 Economic objectives
The development of FST bio-based TP composite fulfilling the FAR 25 will open the door to large market share for bio composite (aircraft interiors for sure, but also big boat and train interiors).
The development of bio-based flame retardants could have also an impact on the final price of the material. It is expected that the incorporation of natural based flame retardants can contribute to the development of final lowcost products.
The easy processability of TPs will have considerable economical input since TPs require shorter cycle times and they do not have to be cured. As a result, and considering the high price of energy, using TPs instead of thermosets will cut down the price of the final composite (15-20%).
Sheet moulding compound (SMC) is quite expensive (both from a raw material cost and process perspective). While for biobased TP material, technological processes such as thermoforming or injection moulding can be used with a positive impact on the final cost.