Plastics supplier A. Schulman will be exhibiting a range of “design-enabling polymer materials” at the upcoming IDSA conference in August. Among the engineered plastics will be Agriplas, a wheat-straw bio-filler that is already in use in the Ford Flex (3rd row quarter trim bin and inner lid) and will soon appear in everything from small engine covers to lawn mower housings.
Technically called “Wheat Straw Fiber Filled Injection Molded Polypropylene,” Agriplas is essentially filler that is added to regular polpropylene (at 20% or 30% mixed with fiberglass), so the end product uses less of the petroleum-based stuff and presumably increases flexural modulus and improves impact strength.
The claim is that the carbon footprint of your average Agriplas-filled part is about 40% while giving you a weight savings of about 10%, and it can still be manufactured in standard injection-molding equipment. Best of all it comes from wheat straw fiber, not the part we eat.
The development process to commercialize an agricultural biomass natural fiber began through a consortium between several US and Canadian companies and academic institutions. The success of this project is a result of excellent communication, support and detailed involvement from all of the partners. Isn’t it nice when we can all work together?