Flaxpreg can be applied by automakers as a multi-position trunk load floor or a structural floor in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. The use of unidirectional long non–woven flax fibers as reinforcement allows a drastic weight reduction, the company says.

The Flaxpreg project, developed by Faurecia with PSA Peugeot-Citröen, Lineo and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (France) was started in 2011 with the aim of designing structural trim parts focusing on drastic weight reduction, the use of renewable resources and a process in line with automotive cycle times and material costs constraints meeting the requirements of automotive mass production. 

The first part of the Flaxpreg project consisted in developing a homogeneous easy to handle flax tape directly produced from flax ribbons, the raw material of the traditional spinning, thus avoiding the patented weaving step. The second part dealt with the impregnation of the acrylic resin directly in line in order to produce a pre-impregnated material known as prepreg. The third and final step consisted in developing the Flaxpreg sandwich construction using a paper honeycomb structure with cycle times under two minutes per part. 

Weight reduction

Due to its very low density, Flaxpreg offers improved mechanical properties allowing for a 35% weight reduction compared to traditional petro-based glass mat, polyurethane sandwich solutions.

‘The originality of the Flaxpreg sandwich lies in the suppression of the spinning and weaving step, with the goal of drastically reducing the production cost of the non-woven FlaxTape,’ said Arnaud Duval, acoustics innovation manager at Faurecia Interior Systems. 

The markets for Flaxpreg include the structural trunk load floor market typically dominated by more traditional materials. Further applications such as package trays, door trims or seat backrests are currently under investigation.