The results of SustainComp was reported at the final conference in June 2012 and the targeted products included nanoreinforced foams used for cushioning in packaging and for display panels, nanostructured composites, aerogels, films and membranes. A number of demonstrators of material concepts were showcased at the conference and for two of these cases, further development is already underway. The successful project is now listed by the EU as a success story of the Seventh Framework Programme.
"We are talking about some very interesting cases where nanocellulose, together with wood fibres, is used to reinforce bioplastics, which are then used for the production of violin fingerboards or the bodywork of bus seats," says Mikael Ankerfors, the coordinator of SustainComp.
In the case of the bus seats, the new sustainable material has the same mechanical properties but is 30% lighter than the current materials. The reduction in weight is of key importance for automotive applications, where weight is one of the most important factors in fuel consumption.
Violin fingerboards are currently produced from rare tone woods, such as rosewood and ebony, which are becoming scarce. The new material has properties that are not found in tone wood. It is impervious to moisture and temperature, and is still acoustically excellent. Another major advantage, besides being produced from a renewable resource, is that it can be produced by injection moulding. Normally, 70-90% of the wood is carved away and becomes waste. With the new method, nothing would be wasted.
The bus seat and the violin fingerboard are both made from a sustainable material produced using Wet Web Technology, a method created by the SustainComp industrial partner Elastopoli Oy. The company already supplies the music industry with sustainable new composites, and expects the new process to be upscaled to industrial level within the next three years.
Read more about this on the European Commission website or in this document (pdf)