Natural Fiber Composites are starting to take center stage in the industry
As demand for sustainable materials grows, natural fiber composites are gaining traction in various industries. Learn about the rise in business interest and future growth potential.
Natural fiber composites (NFCs) have emerged as an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic carbon or glass fiber in various industries. Despite the challenges associated with limited supply, variable fiber quality, and limited mechanical performance in finished parts, the NFC market has grown over the past decade, especially in flax fiber composites. This growth is due to the advantages of flax fiber, including its low density, contributing to lightweight composite parts.
According to Chantal Malingrey, director of marketing and communication at the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp, flax fibers are currently the most commonly used natural fibers in composites. However, the fashion and textile industries still dominate the natural fiber market. Nonetheless, demand for natural fibers has increased significantly since 2020, with fully developed products entering the market.
The appeal of NFCs extends beyond being a renewable source; technical advantages such as lightweighting, vibration and noise damping, and aesthetic appeal also play a significant role. These properties have broadened the appeal of NFCs in applications such as automotive interior components.
Companies like Texonic Inc., which have been working on optimizing natural fibers for use in composites, are involved in R&D work to develop and optimize additional materials for use in NFCs. The focus has now shifted to hemp fibers, which are also growing in supply and usage. Localization of the supply is one of the most critical factors in choosing natural fiber materials since no single fiber type is entirely optimized for use in composites.
The market for NFCs is expected to grow even further as sustainability becomes more critical, driven by standards set by governments, regulatory organizations, OEMs, and consumers demanding materials and process solutions that favor decarbonization.
With the rise in business interest in NFCs and foreseen growth, companies can invest in products to promote sustainability, such as flax and hemp fibers. The growth in the NFC market has presented a significant opportunity for businesses to contribute to a more sustainable future.