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British Tech Company Wins Government Backing for World’s First Technical Colored Flax Fiber

The material is a sustainable reinforcement alternative to carbon fiber.

Stephen Moore

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read
FlaxTex natural fiber
Image courtesy of Hypetex.

British technology company Hypetex has been awarded a significant grant from Innovate UK to develop the world’s first technical colored flax fiber, which will have applications in the sustainable manufacturing of cars, boats, and other products that are usually made with carbon fiber. Previously, the company had secured funding from private interests.

Called FlaxTex, the material is strong, lightweight, and 100% biodegradable, having a net-positive carbon footprint at point of manufacturing. It can be colorized while enhancing its performance properties, with the process adding some important manufacturing attributes compared to standard flax fiber. As such, FlaxTex’s mechanical properties represent the closest sustainable substitute for robust and lightweight materials such as glass fiber and carbon fiber in composite structures. 

Coloring process eliminates moisture.

The performance of standard flax fiber is often hindered by its high moisture absorption, resulting in reduced structural integrity when used in composite construction. In addition, the natural brown color of flax is considered unappealing for product use.

FlaxTex solves these issues by removing moisture through the coloring process and sealing the fibers, which makes them waterproof and enables their core mechanical properties. Hypetex’s patented nano-pigment technology changes the color, adding an aesthetic quality to the material. 

This coloring process is set to transform industrial design possibilities of flax natural fibers by enhancing the strength and performance while simultaneously reducing post-processing requirements and total energy usage. This also aligns with Hypetex’s commitment to supporting the green transition and helping manufacturers meet government expectations on the path to UK Net Zero targets and the European Green Deal.

Further optimization of resin systems and processes.

Over the course of a 12-month industrial research project, Hypetex will further optimize its resin systems and processes, expanding the use of FlaxTex across various markets. 

FlaxTex has a range of industry uses, including construction, automotive, sports equipment, and furniture products. Hypetex’s receipt of the Innovate UK Smart Grant marks another significant milestone in the company’s trajectory, cementing its position in the sustainable advanced materials market.

“FlaxTex natural fiber showcases Hypetex’s steadfast commitment to sustainability and our mission to pioneer carbon-neutral materials,” commented Hypetex CEO Marc Cohen. “We are thrilled to embark on this journey toward a greener future, driving innovation through sustainable composites technology.”

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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