Biocomposites are composite materials shaped by a matrix and a reinforcement of natural fibers. Ecological worry and the price of synthetic fibers have driven the utilization of natural fiber as reinforcement in polymeric composites.
The matrix (resin) stage is shaped by polymers obtained from nonrenewable and renewable resources. The matrix is essential to defend the fibers from mechanical damage and environmental degradation, to hold the fibers together, and to send the loads on them.
Additionally, biofibers are the main components of biocomposites, which are obtained from biological origins like fibers from recycled wood, crops, waste paper, regenerated cellulose fiber, or crop processing byproducts.
The attention to biocomposites is constantly rising in automobiles, aerospace, railway, military, packaging, and construction sectors. Moreover, biocomposites are also gaining traction in various fundamental research, because of their significant benefits including renewable, recyclable, biodegradable, and cheap.
These composites can be utilized as a complement, or alone, to standard materials like carbon fiber. In addition, biocomposite materials enhance safety and health in their production, have a similar visual appeal to wood, are eco-friendly, and are lighter in weight.
Industrial Applications of Biocomposites
Here are some major users of biocomposites:
In Automotive Sector
The automotive sector is increasingly using lightweight materials to produce fuel-efficient automobiles that comply with government rules, for instance, the EU CO2 emission limited 95 g/km, enforced in 2020, and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Apart from the lightweight nature of biocomposites, they also decrease the dependence on non-renewable resources like traditional petroleum-based polymers. In addition, biocomposites also offer high cost and power savings to manufacturers
Furthermore, Natural Fiber Composites (NFCs) are extensively utilized in the interior parts of vehicles like doors, windows, dashboards, and driver cabins. Whereas, seat bases, rear shelves, trims for trunks & spare wheels, interior trims for doors, and headliners are mainly manufactured out of Wood–Plastic Composites (WPCs).
In Construction Sector
The construction sector is constantly looking for sustainable materials to fight the continuing ecological crises and continuously depleting global resources. Biocomposites have also received attention from the construction sector because of their low cost, biodegradability, and renewability.
This has resulted in the boosting demand for biocomposites in the construction sector. These materials are employed in decks, flooring, decorative paneling, windows, doors, roofing, and framing of wallboard and walls.
Moreover, the rising construction activities in developing nations because of the increasing government funding to enhance public infrastructure is likely to surge the requirement for biocomposites in the years to come.