Researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a biocomposite material that can be an environment friendly alternative to conventionally used framework material for kitchen furniture.
The new material comprises plastic that has been strengthened with natural fiber. The reinforcement imparting biomaterial can be flax, sawdust, hemp, peat or pulp. The biocomposite material consumes 25% lesser raw materials. It scores on the environmental impact aspect as its usage reduces carbon footprint of manufacture by 35%. The biocomposite material has higher strength than chipboard commonly used in furniture and also exhibits remarkable moisture resistant properties.
According to Ali Harlin, Research Professor at VTT, the biocomposite material reflects a massive shift in both design and production technique because of its desirable properties that includes the production of lighter frames owing to higher air content and the reduced waste generation during production. The kitchen furniture framework shall be subject to the familiar techniques of the plastic industry like extrusion and compression moulding. The biocomposites pave the way for a component of precise dimensions that eliminate the need for drilling or cutting subsequent to production and even incorporate screw holes while the component is still in the production line.
The new material was developed by VIT in conjunction with Finnish kitchen furniture manufacturer, Puustelli.
According to Professor Harlin, the savings generated in manufacture and transportation costs will attract furniture makers to this biocomposite-based production technique. The end user also benefits from furniture made from the biocomposite as the formaldehyde discharge from the furniture is greatly reduced.