Fibre-based materials for non-clothing applications

In BIO4SELF we aim for PLA self-reinforced composite materials with high mechanical performance
(impact strength and stiffness), superior to that of current self-reinforced polypropylene
(PP) existing on the market.

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The need and the proposed solution

PLA is a biobased and sustainable thermoplastic polymer with good technical performance (good stiffness and strength). Currently, PLA use is limited, eg for packaging applications, for medical applications (e.g. tissue scaffolds, implants and sutures) and to a lesser extent in textile applications (mainly agro textiles).

Hybrid PLA preforms will be made to consist of reinforcement PLA fibres (high melting temperature and high mechanical properties) together with matrix PLA (low melting temperature). These hybrid PLA preforms will be made with different fibre architecture, e.g. chips with short fibres in random orientations, and fabrics with long fibres in controlled orientations.

1st Kick-Off meeting

The BIO4SELF project Kick-Off. Brussel. March 1,2,3, 2016.

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The BIO4SELF is supported by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

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The project brings together 15 partners from ten European states.

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News and events

The BIO4SELF project second meeting. Istanbul.June 20,21, 2016.

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Fibre-based materials for non-clothing applications.

Development self-functionalization of the material, aiming to induce inherent self-cleaning, self-healing and selfsensing properties.

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BIO4SELF aims at fully biobased self-reinforced polymer composites (SRPC). To produce the SRPCs two polylactic acid (PLA) grades are required: a low melting temperature (Tm) one to form the matrix and an ultra high stiffness and high Tm one to form the reinforcing fibres. To reach unprecedented stiffness in the reinforcing PLA fibres, we will combine PLA with bio-LCP (liquid crystalline polymer) for nanofibril formation. Further, we will increase the temperature resistance of PLA and improve its durability. This way, BIO4SELF will exploit recent progress in PLA fibre technology. We will add inherent self-functionalization via photocatalytic fibres (self-cleaning properties), tailored microcapsules (self-healing properties) and deformation detecting fibres (self-sensing).

Prototype composite parts for automotive and home appliances will be demonstrators to illustrate the much broader range of industrial applications, e.g. furniture, construction and sports goods. Our developments will enable to use biobased composites for high end applications, thus contributing to using sustainable and renewable raw materials. Being able to produce, process and sell these novel SRPCs and related composite intermediates will be a clear competitive advantage. First estimates predict a market of at least 35 kton/year, corresponding to ca. 165 M€, within 5 years.

BIO4SELF is a well balanced mix of end users (large enterprises to maximise impact), technology providers (mainly R&D driven SMEs), R&D actors (RTDs and universities) and innovation support (specialised SMEs). It covers the required expertise, infrastructure, and industrial know-how to realise the innovation potential of the novel high performance biobased SRPCs, both during and beyond the project.



Proposed solution.

One route that will be explored is the incorporation of bio-based thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer (bio-LCP). The bio-LCP will be blended with polylactic acid (PLA), in such a way that the bio-LCP forms droplets dispersed in the PLA. This will lead to the formation of bio-LCP fibrils inside the PLA fibre. The fibrils, having high mechanical properties, are expected to enhance the mechanical properties of the PLA fibre/yarn in the drawing direction


"The goal of the project is to develop fully biobased composite materials based on high performance nanofibrillar PLA fibres. To produce these composites, a low melting PLA matrix is combined with a high tenacity, higher melting PLA fibre. This reinforcing fibre is additionally being reinforced with bio-LCP nanofibrils to reach the requested high mechanical properties. A further goal is to develop self-functionalization of the composite materials, aiming to induce inherent self-cleaning (via photocatalytic fibres), self-healing (via tailored microcapsules) and self-sensing (via deformation detecting fibres) properties. Prototype parts for automotive and home appliances will be developed with the novel materials, aiming to thus demonstrate the broad application potential of the biobased self-reinforced materials."

The consortium

The BIO4SELF consortium consists of the 15 actual partners (with an EC budget) and further a group of 9 partners who expressed their support to the consortium via a Letter of Support. The latter group forms the so-called Innovation Support Group or ISG.

Time schedule



Bio4self newsletter Volume 1

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Press releases

From PLA raw material to actual products – an overview of the BIO4SELF project scope

The BIO4SELF project aims for biobased composites with unprecedented stiffness by combining PLA (the largest used biopolymer) with a bio-LCP (Liquid Crystalline Polymer) to create an extra reinforcement level. Also the temperature resistance of PLA and its durability will be improved. The latter via adding well-chosen anti-hydrolysis agents. Further, inherent self-functionalization via photocatalytic polymers (for self-cleaning properties), tailored microcapsules (for self-healing) and deformation detection fibres (for self-sensing) will be added.

The potential of the biobased materials will be shown via advanced prototypes for automotive and home appliances. Cost-efficient production of fully biobased composites meeting the demand for high technical performances and sustainability will be pursuit by investigating the performances of new biobased materials in plastic manufacturing.

Pressemitteilung BoxID 783176

New European Horizon 2020 innovation projectd launched on ultrastrong, fully biobased composite materials.

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Press release-IBA

New European Horizon 2020 innovation projectd launched on ultrastrong, fully biobased composite materials.

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Press release-Centexbel

BIO4SELF for ultra-strong bio-based composites.

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BIO4SELF meeting

The BIO4SELF project second meeting. Istanbul.June 20,21, 2016.

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