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J. Compos. Sci. 2018, 2(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs2010008

Green Composites Reinforced with Plant-Based Fabrics: Cost and Eco-Impact Assessment

1
Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore 487372, Singapore
2
SUTD-MIT International Design Centre, Singapore 487372, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Composites for Industrial Applications)
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Abstract

This study considers a green composite under a twofold assessment; evaluating its process-based cost and environmental footprint profile. The initial objective was to project the manufacturing cost and allow for an additional material comparison of alternative scenarios in the resin transfer molding processes. The additional aim is to have an intermediate environmental assessment to assist in selecting materials and adjust manufacturing parameters which would minimize the energy spent and the CO2 emissions. As it has been noted in numerous applications, the incorporation of natural fiber fabrics, as opposed to glass fabrics, bring together weight savings and consequently cost savings. However, the economic analysis suggests that a glass reinforced composite is marginally cheaper at the production volume of 300 parts (1.9% lower cost) in contrast to a possible green solution (ramie). Considering jute instead of ramie as a reinforcement, the cost gets immediately lower, and further decreases with proposed improvements to the manufacturing process. Additional reduction of up to 10% in the production cost can be achieved by process upgrade. As indicated by the Eco-Audit analysis, 36% less energy and 44% CO2 per kilo will be generated, respectively when swapping from glass to ramie fabrics in the production of the automotive hood. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymers; process-based cost modeling; eco-audit polymers; process-based cost modeling; eco-audit
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Koronis, G.; Silva, A. Green Composites Reinforced with Plant-Based Fabrics: Cost and Eco-Impact Assessment. J. Compos. Sci. 2018, 2, 8.

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