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Bcomp substitutes carbon with flax

News International-French

28 Feb 2014

JEC Europe 2014 - Bcomp’s powerRibs technology consists of a natural fibre grid fabric that results in ribs in the millimetre thickness range on the surface of composite parts, leading to a significantly increased bending stiffness of thin fibre composite shell elements while adding minimum weight.

During the past two years, Bcomp developed the ideal flax yarn and textile process for the powerRibs technology with its partners, taking maximum advantage of flax’s high stiffness-to-weight ratio and low density. These efforts resulted in thin-walled flax fibre composite parts with higher flexural stiffness than a full carbon structure of equivalent weight.

In a recent study mandated by the Swiss Space Office, Bcomp further analysed the damping properties of hybrid flax-carbon composites. For a given weight and after optimizing the flax fibre orientation, a carbon-flax-carbon sandwich structure showed a 15% increase in bending stiffness and damping properties when compared to the full-carbon reference material. While a similar stiffness increase was achieved with the carbon-flax powerRibs sample, the damping performance was increased by 250%.

Thus, the powerRibs technology is the solution of choice for composite shell elements with high stiffness and damping requirements, and can be used in a wide variety of applications in the automotive, aerospace, and space industries, ranging from interior semi-structural parts with a unique look, to structural exterior shell elements.