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- story by MaterialDistrict
UPM Formi is a biocomposite. Though mostly a plastic, this next generation biocomposite contains high-quality, durable and natural wood fibre and can be injection moulded with existing machinery. It is made from renewable cellulose fibres and virgin plastic, and is recyclable and odourless. An added advantage is a consistent material quality, which should enable designers to realise all kinds of ideas.
The constitution varies. Wood-based cellulose, sourced from sustainably managed forests, makes up between 20% and 50% of the mass, with the remaining 80% to 50% made of polypropylene or a corresponding polymer matrix. The Formi material can be made using FSC or PEFC certified fibres to provide reinforcement and which allow for material and weight reduction. Its carbon footprint is between 30% to 60% lower than that of other common engineering plastics such as PC and ABS. Though it is not compostable or biodegradable, it is recyclable within the standard polypropylene recycling system.
The material also exhibits strength and stiffness that are well beyond those of most common thermoplastics. The high stiffness and strength the biocomposite allows for material reduction and variable wall thicknesses, enabling the production of more complex, lightweight products, as well as lowering production costs.