Friday, Jan. 27 ● 2:30 – 3:20 pm
Hagen Hall 325

“Biobased Composite Materials for Structural Applications” by Chad A. Ulven from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, North Dakota State University

The use of plastics derived from plant materials along with the incorporation of natural fibers to produce biobased composite materials is on the rise both nationally and globally. Biobased composite materials manufactured from ag-based products are attractive from an ecological, agricultural, and governmental perspective because of their renewability, biodegradability, and potential economic impact.

Biobased composites exhibit high specific strength because of their low density, good insulation and sound absorption properties, and reduction in volatile emissions. It is a critical time for research and development in this area with the current U.S. government preferential procurement status for biobased materials, increasingly tighter restrictions on using synthetic materials, and continuous development of sustainable materials as alternatives to petroleum based materials.

This research program assesses the viability, local, and national interest in using regionally grown agricultural products in biobased composite materials. Biobased composites are manufactured in-house using NDSU developed and commercially available vegetable-based resins along with a variety of natural fibers, such as flax and hemp. This program is currently evaluating the field of candidate vegetable-based resins and natural fibers for use in structural composite materials. These coupon level materials are currently being tested for static and dynamic material properties. The processing and material property results obtained along with prototype development to-date will be presented in this seminar.