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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J013390/1
Title: Nanocellulose Binders for Fibre Preforms: Creating the Building Blocks of High Performance Sustainable Composites
Principal Investigator: Bismarck, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr K Lee
Project Partners:
APC Composite AB Formax UK Ltd
Department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Follow on Fund
Starts: 01 May 2012 Ends: 30 April 2013 Value (£): 132,336
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Oct 2011 Follow-on Fund Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We have developed using our EPRSC grant (EP/F032005/1) an elegant, intrinsically scalable and cost-effective technology for binding fibres together in order to create an in-plane non-woven fibre mat, utilising bacterial nanocellulose - itself a structural reinforcement, with no extra chemical steps involved during the production. The invention was originally developed for binding natural fibres - such as sisal and hemp - to create "truly green", hierarchical composites. Bacterial cellulose (BC) is currently produced on commercial scale (10t/a) for cosmetic applications by fzmb GmbH. BC has very impressive properties, both in paper form (15 GPa tensile modulus) and as an individual nanofibre (114 GPa Young's modulus). Alternatively, nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) is also available at the pilot scale. There is sufficient evidence in the literature that nanocellulose nanocomposites with much improved properties can be made. In addition to this, it has been shown that hierarchical, i.e. fibre reinforced, nanocomposites can be produced using BC. The previous work has resulted in two patents. The proposed project will demonstrate a slurry dipping or "paper-making" process to produce short (non-woven) fibre preforms. The advantage of our process is that short, long and even continuous fibres can be utilised to produce fibre preforms, which can be utilised in conventional composite making processes. The fibres, which can be used can be either be natural or synthetic. The ideal candidates for this project are fibres that can only with difficulties be formed in to mechanically strong fibre preforms with the required strength for downstream handling. We will focus on scaling up our development of producing fibre preforms and provide a range of value-added properties to this technology. Examples will be selected to satisfy the requirement of the industry and to stimulate new applications for fibre reinforced (nano)composites. We believe that our technology can be licensed to composites manufacturers who will benefit from a new generation of value added products and a major competitive advantage.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk