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Cobratex takes part in the BAMCO consortium

Paris, 19th novembre 2018 – Expleo, Arkema, Cobratex, Specific Polymerrs, Cirimat, Compositadour, Lisa Aeronautics and Mecano-ID sign a partnership agreement to design a new range of bio-based technical composites, using long bamboo fibre reinforcements. This innovation named BAMCO (BAmboo long fibre reinforced biobased Matrix COmposites) aims to reduce the environmental footprint of airplanes, which could also be applied to other industrial sectors.

Controlling product’s environmental impact has become an increasing preoccupation for industrial companies. In Aeronautics, research focusses on designing new materials. Some commonly used polymers such as phenolic, reinforced with glass fibres, will soon be banned by regulations such as REACh. It is therefore urgent to develop alternative solutions that answer as least the same technical requirements.

For over four years, Expleo and the CIRIMAT have been working together on bamboo reinforced bio-composites using a biobased thermoplastic matrix. Having been validated at a laboratory level, it is now necessary to further develop this concept to reach industrialisation.

BAMCO CONSORTIUM: EIGHT ORGANISATIONS, COMPANIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTS, JOIN THEIR EXPERTISES TO DEVELOP BIOBASED COMPOSITES WITH BAMBOO FIBRES

This is the challenge that the collaborative project FUI BAMCO is addressing by offering to design new bio-composites made with bamboo long fibres. Even though some solutions already exist with flax and hemp fibres, these new bio-composites are unique as they have the advantage of being an alternative to glass/phenolic composites due to their light weight (reducing overall mass and kerosene consumption), their thermal and mechanical properties (strength, shock and vibration absorption). Bamboo agriculture also answers ecological considerations: fast growth, low water consumption, low land use and no need for pesticides or fertilizers.

In aeronautics, BAMCO bio-composites could be used in cabin applications and integrated as covering panels and fuselage or even for service trolleys and galley (area where food is prepared and stored in an airplane). They could also be used to make final products for marine, sport & leisure applications.

The BAMCO project was labelled by the French Aerospace Valley cluster (“Pole de Compétitivité”) and supported by the French Directorate-General for Enterprise (“Direction Générale des Entreprises – DGE”) within the French FUI-24 funding program (“fond unique interministériel”), as well as the Occitanie and the Normandie Regions together with BPI-France. It brings together eight organisations, companies and research institutes, into a consortium.

The BAMCO project is led by Expleo, a group specialised in engineering, quality and digitalized solutions, which is at the origin of this innovation. Expleo, which has a strong expertise in material science and engineering and know-how in aeronautics, is involved from design to prototyping. It is also leader of this large and promising project for tomorrow’s industry.

Arkema and Specific Polymers are in charge of formulating and manufacturing biobased polymers for the composites’ matrices.

Cobratex will study and select different bamboo species, including some that are farmed in France. In order to answer all composite manufacturing requirements, Cobratex will optimise its own process and innovative reinforcements. The company will also be in charge of changing production scales for the technical reinforcements and semi-products developed by the CIRIMAT.

The research institutions, the CIRIMAT and COMPOSITADOUR, are both involved respectively in implementing these bio-composites at the laboratory and industrial scales. The CIRIMAT’s contribution involves designing and implementing, at a laboratory level, continuous bamboo fibre reinforcements with both thermoplastic and thermoset matrices.

Mecano-ID will simulate and perform vibration tests to determine damping properties of the bio-composites.

Finally, Lisa Aeronautics will manufacture demonstrators for its future airplanes.

The BAMCO project has just been launched and the first prototypes are scheduled for 2021.
 

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