2021-10-06

Pretty biological

  • LANXESS launches full biocomposite
  • Combination of polylactic acid and flax fabrics
  • Lightweight design with good strength and stiffness
  • Appealing natural carbon fiber look

Cologne, October 6, 2021 – Sustainability is an essential part ofhow LANXESS does business. It is centered primarily on climateprotection, energy efficiency, and the circular economy. The companyis forging ahead with efforts to use bio-based and renewable rawmaterials to conserve resources and ensure that its own productionprocesses are no longer reliant on fossil sources. One good exampleof this is a new product in the Tepex range of continuous-fiberreinforcedthermoplastic composites. “We have combined fabricsmade from natural flax fibers with bio-based polylactic acid as amatrix material and thereby developed a composite manufacturedentirely from natural resources. We are now able to produce it to alevel of quality suitable for large-scale production,” explains Dr.Stefan Seidel, head of Tepex research and development atLANXESS.

Low-density flax fibers

Flax fibers have a significantly lower density than glass fibers. Thecomposites made with these fibers are thus noticeably lighter inweight than their glass-fiber-reinforced counterparts. The flax fibersare used in the form of continuous-fiber reinforced fabrics. Thisenables the biocomposites to demonstrate the outstandingmechanical performance typical of Tepex, which is based chiefly onthe continuous fibers arranged in particular directions. The weightspecificstiffness of the biocomposite is comparable to that of theequivalent glass-fiber-reinforced material variants. Designing thecomposite components to suit the expected loads enables most ofthe force to be transferred via the continuous fibers. According toSeidel, “This ensures that the high strength and stiffnesscharacteristic of fiber-reinforced plastics are achieved.

To be used in cars, industry, electronics, and sports

When coupled with transparent matrix plastics such as polylactic acid, the reinforcing flax fabric yields surfaces with a brown natural carbon-fiber look. “This appearance highlights the natural origin of the fibers and the entire composite and creates added visual appeal in sporting goods, for example,” explains Seidel. In addition to sports equipment, the new biocomposite could be used in cars, such as for manufacturing interior parts, or in electronics for the production of such things as housing components.

Easy to recycle

Like the variants of Tepex based solely on fossil raw materials, the new biocomposites can be completely recycled as purely thermoplastic systems as part of closed-loop material cycles. “Offcuts and production waste can be regranulated and easily injection-molded or extruded, either alone or mixed with unreinforced or short-fiber reinforced compound new materials,” says Seidel.

In the medium term, LANXESS is planning to use other bio-based thermoplastics such as polyamide 11 and other natural and recycled fibers in the production of Tepex.

You can find more detailed information about the Tepex product line and lightweight designs from LANXESS at www.tepex.com and lightweight.lanxess.com, respectively.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 6.1 billion in 2020. The company currently has about 14,800 employees in 33 countries. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and Europe) and FTSE4Good.

Forward-Looking Statements
This company release contains certain forward-looking statements, including assumptions, opinions, expectations and views of the company or cited from third party sources. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause the actual results, financial position, development or performance of LANXESS AG to differ materially from the estimations expressed or implied herein. LANXESS AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors, nor does it accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the opinions expressed in this presentation or the actual occurrence of the forecast developments. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, any information, estimates, targets and opinions contained herein, and no liability whatsoever is accepted as to any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein, and accordingly, no representative of LANXESS AG or any of its affiliated companies or any of such person's officers, directors or employees accepts any liability whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the use of this document.

Information for editors:
All LANXESS news releases and their accompanying photos can be found at press.lanxess.com. Recent photos of the Board of Management and other LANXESS image material are available at photos.lanxess.com. 

You can find further information concerning LANXESS chemistry in our digital magazine “Inside LANXESS” at http://inside.lanxess.com.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube:

http://www.twitter.com/LANXESS
http://www.facebook.com/LANXESS
http://www.linkedin.com/company/lanxess
http://www.youtube.com/lanxess