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Unitika Debuts CNF-reinforced Polyamide, but It's the Other CNF

Image: Alamy/Oleg Doroshenko cellulose nanofibers
Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) deliver sustainable reinforcement.

A polyamide 6 grade from Japan’s Unitika is reinforced with CNFs, in this case cellulose nanofibers rather than carbon nanofibers. The sustainable solution based on plant-derived fibers is reportedly readily recyclable, and targets application in automobile parts, home appliances, and outdoor goods. Unitika also reports three recycling cycles are achievable with no apparent degradation in properties.

Key to development of the new composite materials is dispersion of the CNFs at high loading without having to modify the fibers. Unitika has been able to replicate or even better the physical properties of 30% glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide 6 with its CNF-reinforced grade. A grade containing 20% CNF has a density of 1.21, flexural strength of 199 MPa, flexural modulus of 8.8 GPa, DTUL of 191°C, and coefficient of linear expansion of 7x10-6/°C in the flow direction.

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