Use of latex in natural fibre reinforced plastics

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Polymers and composite materials have replaced many conventional materials (wood, metals, natural fibres) in the past decades. Cost reduction, productivity increase, weight saving and better mechanical properties are the main reasons for this development. In recent years however, there is a renewed interest in natural fibres, especially as reinforcement in composite materials. Main reasons for this is an increased awareness of our environment. Typical subjects in this respect are ‘reduction of CO2 emissions’, ‘recycling’ and ‘protection of resources’. The automotive industry was the first to use natural fibres on a larger scale, not only because of environmental advantages but also because of cost- and weight reduction. Several cars produced or even used at this very moment, contain a considerable amount of natural fibres. This report investigates the possibilities of natural fibres as reinforcement in thermoplastic composites. It focuses on the problems of natural fibre prepreg production and brings up latex processing as a possible solution to some of these problems…