Bio Composite materials are heading for the slopes after engineers at the AMRC Composite Centre produced a prototype snowboard from flax, cashew nut husks and recycled plastic. The team is investigating the potential use of these biocomposites for electric vehicles and other applications.
The AMRC Composite Centre started working with biocomposites as part of E-light, a collaborative European project to investigate new lightweight materials for electric vehicles. The team investigated the use of fibres from flax and bamboo, as well as an epoxy resin derived from cashew nut husks which would normally go to waste, and produced two fairing panels for the AMRC’s Mantra lorry as showpieces.[widgetkit id=4997]
Some of the young researchers at the AMRC Composite Centre then started looking at the potential for these materials in an area of special personal interest: snowboarding. The team launched an internal project which became known as SUSC: Snowboard Using Sustainable Composites.
Development engineer Craig Atkins said;
Snowboards need to be stiff, strong and light, so are typically made from glass fibre or carbon fibre composite with a wooden core, we decided to take a look at replacing these with more sustainable materials. Flax is a relatively cheap bio-material, with good mechanical properties, and a very good candidate for use in snowboards.
The team made two boards from flax fibres embedded in a resin containing 30 per cent of cashew shell epoxy. The core was made from recycled PET foam, derived from old plastic bottles and other waste. One of the boards is currently being put through its paces by an AMRC team member who is in the Canadian Mountains, while the other board is being showcased at the centre in Sheffield.[connections id=’110′]