Consortium works to develop biosourced composites from bamboo fiber

The BAMCO collaborative project aims to develop new biocomposites created from long bamboo fibres.

A consortium of companies have come together to design new biosourced technical composites based on bamboo. Known as BAMCO (bamboo long fiber reinforced biobased matrix composite), the innovation aims to reduce the environmental footprint of aircraft and deliver benefits said to extend beyond the aerospace industry.

BAMCO composites aim to be a potential replacement for glass/phenolic composites as a result of their lightness (reducing overall weight, and therefore fuel consumption), their thermal resistance and the mechanical properties in terms of strength and impact/vibration absorption. In aerospace, the biocomposites are said to show potential for use in cabin interiors, in cover panels and fuselage cladding panels, and in the onboard galleys used to prepare and store in-flight meals on aircraft. They reportedly could also have applications in the manufacture of finished components for use in the marine and leisure sports markets.

The BAMCO project draws on the expertise of eight industry stakeholders, company and research laboratory consortium members. The list of partners in the consortium includes Assystem Technologies (Paris, France), Arkema (Colombes, France), Cobratex (Carbonne, France), Specific Polymers (Castries, France), CIRIMAT (Toulouse, France), Compositadour (Bayonne, France), Lisa Aeronautics (Le Bourget du lac, France) and Mécano ID (Toulouse, France).

Assystem Technologies is involved in designing the prototype components. 

Arkema and Specific Polymers have responsibility for the formulation and application of the biosourced polymers used for the composite matrices.

Cobratex will research and propose candidate species of bamboo, some of which are grown in France. In responding to the constraints involved in using the full range of matrices and composite processes, Cobratex will optimize its own conversion process, as well as its own innovative reinforcement technologies. The company will also be responsible for the upscaling of the techniques used to apply the technical reinforcement solutions and semi-finished products developed directly by CIRIMAT.

The research laboratories CIRIMAT and Compositadour are involved in using the biocomposites in the laboratory, and on an industrial scale respectively. The CIRIMAT contribution focuses on the design and laboratory-scale production of continuous bamboo fibre composites using thermoplastic and thermosetting matrices.

Mécano ID is responsible for conducting the vibration absorption tests and modelling biocomposite behavior.

Plane maker Lisa Aeronautics plans to incorporate a prototype component in its future aircraft.

The BAMCO has just entered its operational phase with the launch of development work. The first prototype components are scheduled for 2021.