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Access to functional, bio-based and printable materials: a major challenge for the aeronautics.

On November 23, 2022, 4D Pioneers took part in the thematic day organized by the Aerospace Valley competitiveness cluster under the theme "The place of bio-based materials in the aeronautics, space and UAV industries". It was an opportunity to discuss and reflect around a round table on the issues related to the use of bio-based materials in those industries. 4D Pioneers was at the side of ARKEM, LCPO- Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques, and VESO CONCEPT for an exchange around the theme of bio-based polymers.

Interview with Benjamin LEDELLIOU, PhD R&D in Biosourced materials at 4D Pioneers.

More and more industrial sectors are interested in biobased materials, why such a craze?

Ecological issues are pushing industrial sectors to look at more environmental friendly materials and to think about the use of these materials with a view to sustainable development and accelerated decarbonization, particularly in the aeronautics sector. Representing nearly 3% of CO2 emissions, the aeronautics sector must focus on reducing its environmental impact, in particular through the use of low-impact materials, while maintaining the competitiveness of the sector. Biobased materials are thus positioned as a real solution.

How could additive manufacturing encourage this transition?

Additive manufacturing is a major asset in the supply chain because it allows local production, at reduced costs and in record time. It also allows a lightening of the structures thanks to the optimization of the designs of the parts. It is therefore a process that is very advantageous while achieving an industrial ecology in connection with the decarbonization of aeronautics/railways

And what about materials? And more specifically, biobased materials?

The choice of thermoplastic materials provides lighter structures due to their lower density compared to their inorganic counterparts. This weight reduction ensures a decrease in fuel consumption and environmental impact. If these materials are also bio-based, then you reduce the use of fossil resources. This ambition is at the heart of our developments, for example we are working on the formulation of materials that are both flame retardant, biosourced and printable to meet the requirements of railway/aeronautical sector.

What are the obstacles to the adoption of these biobased materials today?

As highlighted during the round table, reflections on the normative aspect and fire/smoke certification will have to be conducted. Indeed, it is necessary to make standards evolve to integrate these new technologies that shake up the codes in force. Only an intense collaboration between industrials, companies and standardization bodies will allow this revolution

In addition to this round table, are the solutions proposed by 4D Pioneers attractive to players in the aeronautics sector?

Absolutely, we were able to meet with many of the industry players. It was an opportunity to present not only our materials but also our new ultra-functional hybrid printer, the 4SHIFT. Some parts produced with our solutions were also presented and allowed to initiate future collaboration for a more respectful environment.

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