21 Feb Andaltec, part of a project for the development of advanced materials for industrial and building purposes using natural fibers from esparto and hemp
Andaltec is part of the R&D Project “Finaiconst”, fostered by the Andalusian Regional Government to develop new advanced materials for industrial and building purposes, introducing natural fibers from esparto and hemp. The aim of this research is to exploit agricultural processing waste materials for the development of materials more sustainably, cheaply and presenting better mechanical properties. Furthermore, the project also intends to obtain lighter materials compared to the ones currently employed for industrial and building purposes.
Rafael González, leader of this project for Andaltec, pinpoints that comparative analysis will be carried out in order to study the benefits of this vegetal fiber addition. The process will be conducted with non-additivated plastic materials and, on the other hand, plastic materials filled with glass or talc fiber. ”The higher amount of vegetal fiber is used, the lower the price of the resulting material will be, although a percentage balance should be defined so that the resulting materials are processable and count with the best physical-chemical properties”, as he explains.
The project is under current development through a consortium participated by technological companies within the building sector, such as Actisa; public organisations interested in the development of new economic opportunities based on fiber usage, like the Provincial Government of Granada, agricultural associations interested on spreading the opportunities derived from this project like Asaja, and leading technological agents such as Andaltec. The Operational Group also includes other organisations with an extensive know-how in the agricultural sector like Ifapa and companies from the Sustainable Building Cluster or the Building Developers Association from Granada.
Andaltec’s part in the project implies the development of new materials defining the mixtures of thermoplastics and thermostables with vegetable fibers. The fibers being employed are hemp hurds (hemp tillage waste) and esparto thread. These mixtures produce new materials that can be processed and characterised in the Technological Centre for Plastic’s lab in order to define their physical-chemical properties.
Andaltec is a National Technological Centre, supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. It houses a crew of 150 qualified workers in more than 10,000 square metres of high-tech facilities. Andaltec’s headquarters in Martos possess the latest technological equipment for research, development and validation of new products and materials, as well as for process optimization.