Composites Evolution has developed a range of carbon flax hybrid materials offering a lower cost alternative to carbon fibre.
In addition to reducing overall part cost, the inclusion of flax improves vibration dampening performance, reduces part weight, and reduces environmental impact compared to carbon fibre alone. The carbon flax hybrids can also create unique and attractive aesthetics. Composites Evolution expects these materials to be of particular interest to the automotive and sporting goods sectors.
They propose 3 ways of harnessing the benefits of flax within carbon fibre composites – hybrid woven yarn fabrics, hybrid spread tow fabrics and a layered hybrid approach.
In the layered hybrid approach, 1 or more layers of carbon fibre are replaced with Composites Evolution’s Biotex Flax to create multi-layer, micro-sandwich structures with equal bending stiffness to all-carbon laminates, but with reduced cost, reduced weight, increased shock absorption and improved environmental impact.
Hybrid fabrics composed of carbon and flax yarns offer an alternative approach, where the carbon and flax can work synergistically to provide tuneable performance, vibration damping and unique aesthetics at lower cost than carbon. These fabrics are particularly suitable for use in 1 or 2 layer laminates and where directional properties are required. One example in the Biotex range is a 180g/m2 2×2 twill hybrid fabric which is aimed at the automotive and sports industries and would suit complex structural and decorative parts.
Hybrid carbon flax spread tow fabrics are also possible, offering superior properties due to the high degree of fibre alignment and low crimp, along with attractive aesthetics. These specialist fabrics are aimed at the sporting goods market, where performance is key, and are already being considered in the design of new skis, snowboards and hockey sticks.
Brendon Weager, Technical Director at Composites Evolution, explains “We have developed these hybrid materials working alongside automotive OEM’s and sporting goods manufacturers to meet their increasing demands for cost reduction, performance, customer experience and sustainability. We fully expect to see carbon flax hybrid structures playing their part in the next generation of vehicles and sports products.”
Composites Evolution will be exhibiting the range of hybrid solutions at the Composites Engineering show, 4th – 5th November at the Birmingham NEC, UK. Visit their stand F125 to see how carbon flax hybrids can help you reduce the cost and weight of your carbon fibre parts whilst improving shock absorption and environmental impact.
About the author
Composites Evolution is a dynamic and agile UK-based manufacturer of prepregs for lightweight composite structures. We are dedicated to supporting our customers, and our goal is to be your number one partner for specialist prepregs, through world-leading innovation, sustainability, customer service and responsiveness.All articles by this author