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Long Cellulose Fiber-Reinforced Resins Target Auto Applications

Japan’s Polyplastics Group says reinforced polypropylene resins are a perfect fit for door module carriers, center consoles, and armrest cores.

Posted by Staff

March 15, 2023

1 Min Read
car center console
Josfor/iStock via Getty Images

A new long cellulose fiber-reinforced polypropylene (PP) resin developed by Japan’s Polyplastics Group targets automotive applications, such as door module carriers, center consoles, and armrest cores. Plastron LFT offers lower density and fewer greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions than short-glass-reinforced resins while delivering the same mechanical properties, according to the company.

Cellulose is a non-edible biomass raw material derived from non-fossil organic resources. It has a negative carbon influence — carbon dioxide is absorbed in the air during manufacture — and is sustainable — the raw material can be procured sustainably unlike resources such as natural minerals.

Plastron LFT resin incorporates regenerated cellulose fibers made using the solvent method, which produces hardly any waste. Polyplastics uses a solvent method for the cellulose fiber that emits less greenhouse gas during the manufacturing process than glass fiber. Further, since Plastron LFT has nearly 10% lower density than glass-fiber-reinforced PP resin, its greenhouse-gas emissions are even lower when compared in equal volumes.

By nature, cellulose is extraordinarily difficult to dissolve in solvents. Today, a significant majority of typical regenerated cellulose is manufactured using a complex process that involves modification of the cellulose followed by dissolving in solvent and spinning, and finally restoring the original cellulose form. This process results in significant emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.

By contrast, the solvent method is a closed process that recovers virtually 100% of the solvent and generates minimal waste. The company has earned multiple patents worldwide for resins reinforced with long regenerated cellulose fiber, including solvent-method cellulose fiber.

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