Lead academic: Dr G Ren Supporting Academic: Dr A Chrysanthou and B Wibberley
Research Student: Y Lee
Funding body: EPSRC/BRE ICASE
Industrial Supervisor: Mr A Williams, BRE
Period: 2010-14 EPSRC iCASE Grant: 0800171 (2009 – 2013) Industrial Support Company: BRE G Ren (PI), A Chrysanthou (Co. 1), (Co. 2) School of Aerospace, Automotive and Design Engineering University of Hertfordshire
This project covers Lightweight natural fibre composite materials with manufacturing/processing for energy savings for automotive/transportation, building construction, and aerospace applications. The project aims to develop a systematic natural fibre surface treatment formulation and processing methodology to enable the use of functional fabrics for composites.
Natural fibres are cost-effective supporting low-carbon economy due to their abundance and fast growth rate. The challenges in applying natural fibres and their composites come from their poor impact properties and inferior flame retardancy compared to glass fibre or other man-made fibre systems. However, the preliminary research on natural fibre composites has shown that the fibre surface can be treated to provide significant enhancement in the impact property and fire performance.