Japan Edit – March 2021
New composite material with a high woody biomass content
Nippon Paper Industries, in collaboration with Japan Steel Works, has developed a composite material (Torrefide Biocomposite) with a high woody biomass content. This new composite material can reduce the amount of plastics used by more than 50% while contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Composite materials made of resin and woody biomass such as wood flour or pulp often have heat resistance and mouldability problems. The new biomass solid fuel torrefaction technology developed by the company imparts heat resistance, grindability and hydrophobicity to the woody biomass used in the new material. This sustainable woody biomass material is thoroughly blended into the resin using the twin-screw extruder manufactured by Japan Steel Works, thus creating a composite material with improved heat resistance and mouldability.
In the future, Nippon Paper Industries will promote the commercialization of this biocomposite material by developing applications in various fields such as building materials, food containers/appliances, home appliances and horticulture.
Start of a test for practical use of the carbon fibre sheet fusion repair method on concrete structures in cold regions
Akita University was commissioned by the Akita Composite Material New Molding Technology Research Association to develop a new moulding technology for composite materials such as carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP).
The university uses the electromagnetic induction heating (IH) moulding technology to quickly apply the carbon fibre sheet fusion repair method to concrete structures in cold regions using a thermoplastic non-woven fabric. A test was launched for the practical application of this technology.
Measures to prevent the deterioration of civil infrastructure and to extend the life of concrete structures under strict financial conditions have become urgent issues for national and regional governments. Against this background, Akita University is also working on the development of composite applications for repairing construction structures in response to the growing need for research & development and demonstration of new technologies that contribute to extending the life of infrastructures such as bridges.
Recently, they succeeded in developing a new technology that can be adapted to the construction environment of the Akita prefecture, which is a cold region with snow. With the cooperation of the prefecture and two private contractors, they started repair tests at two locations. In these tests, a non-woven fabric made of a thermoplastic resin that softens under heat is applied on the part of the concrete structure (e.g. a bridge) that needs to be repaired or reinforced. Electromagnetic induction heating (IH) is applied to the fabric, which softens to form an adhesive, and a carbon fibre sheet is fused to the part. It functions as a heat insulating material until it softens, enabling highly efficient temperature rise.
Sanyo Chemical Industries develops a new additive for ABS resin
Sanyo Chemical Industries has developed a resin additive that, added in small amounts, can improve the chemical resistance of ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) resin. By imparting chemical resistance to ABS resin, which is used in a wide range of applications, the company will contribute to the further expansion of ABS resin applications.
Sanyo Chemical Industries has already developed resins such as Pelestat or Pelectron that form a conductive circuit in the resin to prevent charging, as well as Umex, which improves the compatibility of polyolefin-based resins and the dispersibility of inorganic fillers.
This time, the company managed to develop a resin additive that improves the chemical resistance of ABS by utilizing their specialty interface control technology, polymer design/synthesis technology, and knowledge of resin modifiers.
When ABS resin comes into contact with chemicals such as solvents, its finish aspect deteriorates and cracks occur. The new additive can improve the chemical resistance of ABS resin when added in a small amount. In addition, since the effect can be exhibited with only 2 to 5% by weight, it has almost no effect on mechanical properties.
This additive can expand the application sectors of ABS resins by broadening the range of applicable materials and improving printing, painting and adhesion properties. With the urgent need for global warming countermeasures, automotive and other industries are working to improve fuel efficiency by reducing weight and greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to use high-performance resins such as ABS. As such, demand is expected to increase. In addition, due to the digital revolution and the full-scale operation of the 5th generation of mobile communication systems (5G), the market for ABS resin, which is also used for digital device frames, is expected to expand further.
Development of a CFRP technology using recycled carbon fibre
In collaboration with Carbon Fiber Recycle Industry, Nippon Gasket – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taiho Kogyo – developed a CFRP (carbon fibre-reinforced plastics) technology using recycled carbon fibre.
In this development, carbon fibre regenerated through an energy-saving recycling technology is combined with Nippon Gasket’s conventional moulding technology. High-strength, lightweight and low-cost functions are achieved by forming a base body using recycled carbon fibre and resin moulding technology. The company has developed a technology for commercializing recycled CFRP. If CFRP’s cost can be reduced using this technology, it will become usable for structural materials in various fields and contribute to CO2 reduction.
This initiative was evaluated in the Strategic Energy Conservation Innovation Program promoted by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) under the technological development theme “Development of CFRP parts using recycled carbon fibre”. It received the NEDO Energy Conservation Technology Development Award.
Nippon Gasket will proceed with practical applications based on the results obtained with this development. At the same time, the company will increase the variety of material types and characteristics, and focus on research and development so that they can expand into fields such as industrial applications.