Novel Bio-Composites Based on Whole Utilisation of Wheat Straw
(2008-2011, DEFRA RM-LINK)
Brunel will lead a consortium include HGCA, Imperial College, Bangor Univerrsity, BRE, Cranfield University, Biopack UK, Tubex Ltd, Parkes Group, Bixon Brothers, Primace Associate, Ecodek Vanplastic Ltd and Proman Coatings Ltd aiming at developing a portfolio of bio-composites based on whole utilisation of renewable wheat straw for industrial applications.
The concept is based on a previous work at Brunel on a novel twin-strew extrusion technology for processing of feedstock in wheat straw reinforced bio-composites. It demonstrated that straw raw material could be restructurised into a feedstock with cellulose fibre finely dispersed in the non-cellulose matrix, which can be utilised as a bonding phase without having to be removed as in conventional processes to extract the cellulose. The whole straw can thus be utilised to avoid waste of materials and the negative impacts to environment associated with the extraction process. Through this collaborative research, the consortium is to address the scientific and technical problems in materials formulation/processing, product design/manufacturing, enhancement of functionality/ performance as well as economical/environmental assessment so as to develop a series of cost-effective bio-composites and products, which satisfy diverse technical and environmental performance requirements in the industrial sectors across packaging, horticulture, building/construction and shooting sports.
Left: Examples of pitch tar bonded “clay pigeons” used currently in shooting sports.
Right: Biodegradable alternative from straw based materials developed at Brunel.