The BRIGHT proposal (Bamboo Reinforced bIocomposite with hiGh mecHanical properTies) presented an innovative low energy process for high quality bamboo fibres extraction, which conserves the intrinsic mechanical properties. The "infinite bamboo wire" resulting from this project demonstrated its high performance for aeronautical composites applications.
The process that proposed by the BRIGHT proposal was principally mechanically-based with very low chemical treatments, in order to respect the environment. The project partners, composed by VESO CONCEPT (coordinator) and two other French SMEs, namely COBRATEX and KES all have a deep knowledge in green materials for various industrial applications. In particular, concerning the transport application, they have already worked in innovative structural parts made of bamboo fibres.
The project duration and budget complied with the call requirements, that is a duration of 16 months and a total budget below 250 000 Euros.
BRIGHT was part of CLEAN SKY’s Research and Technology development projects. The Call for Proposal “Application of bio-materials based on bamboo fibres to cabin interior composite sandwich panels” aimed at developing Technology Demonstration, at a Technology Readiness Level of 6, to enable bamboo to get closer to being used in aeronautic applications.
This project targeted to develop an appropriate bamboo fabric for aeronautical applications. Moreover, the process to extract bamboo and to transform it into fabric aims to be a low energy process. From bamboo fabric, another key challenge is to turn this fabric into composites (laminate and sandwich panels) suitable to be used for aircraft interiors. To valorise all the technologies developed within the project, a mid-cabin cabinet was to be manufactured and assembled.
First of all, with inputs from the Topic Manager, a specifications document gathering all information required to lead this project and to give all objectives to reach (mechanical properties, fire requirements or sustainability) was produced.
The first step was to select the most appropriate specie for aeronautical mid cabin applications. For that, auditions of bamboo cultivators were performed, and a selection of several species answering requirements was done. Technologies to extract fibres from raw bamboo and to manufacture infinite wire, were optimized in terms of energy consumption and product quality. Weaving tests were also done using prototype infinite wires. A continuous process was analysed and established.
A product Life cycle Assessment enabled to clearly demonstrate that bamboo fabrics using such infinite wires had improved environmental impacts compared to standard glass fibre fabrics.
During the development of the bamboo fabric, studies to develop a bamboo composite matching the requirements were performed on a hand-made bamboo fabric. Protocols to improve impregnation between bamboo fabric and epoxy resin and to enhance fire-retardant properties of bamboo fabric were set. Mechanical and fire tests performed on bamboo composites (both laminate and sandwich panel) showed compliancy with specifications. A 3D model and FEM model of demonstrator were made but due to a lack of time, the demonstrator was not manufactured.
As a conclusion, BRIGHT has enabled to develop significant Technology Demonstration to answer most of the challenges, but some tasks of interest remain unfinished and could be studied in the future as well as new topics of interest. These should include a methodology to get homogeneous, constant and reliable bamboo fibres (i.e batch to batch consistency regarding mechanical properties); an overall optimization of the process to get thinner bamboo infinite wires and fabrics (extraction step, weaving step) and the development of a bamboo pre-preg.