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Development of a new Bio-Composite from renewable resources with improved thermal and fire resistance for manufacturing a truck internal part with high quality surface finishing (NATURTRUCK)
Start date: Jan 1, 2014, End date: Mar 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The main objective of NATURTRUCK is to develop injected plastic parts for the commercial vehicles industry (mainly cabin truck parts) made with thermoplastic composite materials from renewable resources (at least 80% w/w), namely physically modified polylactic acid (PLA) grades and natural fibres, with improved thermal and flame retardancy properties and high quality surface finishing to be used in truck internal parts as a real alternative to low-gloss standard ABS grades at a competitive cost. By achieving the challenging NATURTRUCK objectives, the availability of PLA with improved properties and optimised production process will allow NATURTRUCK SME’s partners, and consequently the EU industry, to fabricate new thermoplastic biocomposite products suitable to satisfy the commercial vehicles manufacture sector stringent mechanical, thermal, fire resistance and eco-friendliness requirements, at a cost comparable to current ABS price, increasing their differentiation from competitors and creating significant market opportunities.The main innovation of NATURTRUCK in comparison with previous projectsis the possibility to tailor the properties of commercial PLA grades by a synergic combination of different types of additives and reinforcements (radiation susceptors, chain extenders, flame retardants and natural fibres) and post-annealing techniques based on non-conventional high frequency energy sources. This challenge makes NATURTRUCK a real ""beyond of the estate of art"" project, due to the smart combination of technologies and materials employed, which will permit for instance to increase the rate and percentage of the crystalline phase in the PLA biocomposite and in consequence to increase its thermal resistance and mechanical properties."

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