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AIR FORCE OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, Virginia – The Air Force Office of Scientific Research signed a Patent License Agreement with Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. that allows the company to use an Air Force developed fiber welding process in the creation of automotive components.
Air Force research showed that with proper solvents and control, polymers from neighboring natural fibers interact and individual fibers are ‘welded’ as new molecular associations are generated. Removal of the solvent results in molded materials with robust mechanical properties. This is referred to as fiber welding.
This process maintains the chemical makeup of natural materials even while fibers are redesigned into desired shapes and structures without the use of glue. In comparison to many conventional natural and synthetic materials, fiber welded composites are stronger, lighter, more affordable, sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and more easily recycled and reused. When used for automotive interior materials, these composites can also contribute to improvements in the fuel economy of vehicles since they are lighter in weight. Fibrous materials demonstrated include hemp, cotton, jute, sisal, and flax.
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