For a long time, the field of composite materials has tackled the challenge represented by the use of innovative and sustainable materials, with the idea of attaining a circular use of resources. Such a challenge is also related to the need to increase the global efficiency of available resources and production processes, in line with the Smart Specialisation Strategy: ‘Environmental Sustainability of Products and Processes for New Materials.’
The main problem in defining ‘bio-based’ composite materials is the capability to replace traditional fossil-based products, maintaining the same performance level and consuming less energy during the whole lifecycle. A further problem is represented by the high discard rate of unused biomass, which is currently critical in terms of environmental impact and enterprise costs.
The project aims at developing new sustainable and innovative composite materials, employing discarded or natural raw materials. The effective use of such materials will be made possible by the creation of a knowledge-based supply chain, from the study of raw and secondary raw materials to the design and manufacturing of innovative products.
The choice of a supply-chain-like approach will allow the use of organic or discarded materials to manufacture composite materials and/or bio-based materials. In particular, the plan is to: map and define the physical-chemical and rheological features of the available raw/secondary raw materials; define the best procedures for the extraction, separation and synthesis processes aimed at creating bio-based materials and organic composite materials; design formulated products for new, innovative materials, describing the related functionalization and additivation processes; develop new components to be manufactured in a ‘green’ version, with the related project specifications and definition of the manufacturing processes; develop materials to streamline the managements of end-of-life components.