A composite demonstrator based on 100 percent softwood lignin has been developed by the Swedish research institutes Innventia and Swerea SICOMP. The demonstrator – a sandwich structure in which balsa wood is laminated with carbon fibre – is the first proof that it is possible to manufacture lignin-based carbon fibre, even if this is still only on a laboratory scale.
The main feature of carbon fibre composites is that they are strong and light, so they have many applications. Due to its high cost, demand is still limited. By introducing cost-effective lignin-based carbon fibre, the material could be used in traditional cars and other bulk products. Lighter cars would have positive environmental impacts, as fuel consumption would be reduced.
"We believe in the large-scale production of lightweight materials, and the manufacturing methods for composites must therefore become more cost-effective. There's no reason to believe that today's fossil-based carbon fibres can't be replaced directly with lignin carbon fibre in these production processes," says Birgitha Nyström, Research Leader for Materials Technology at Swerea SICOMP.
For more information, visit Innventia website.