In India, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi have successfully produced a composite plastic material reinforced with jute and kenaf using microwave energy.
Sunny Zafar, Assistant Professor at IIT Mandi, and his team used microwave curing to produce the biocomposite, which could replace glass-, carbon-, and aramid-reinforced plastics in applications ranging from aerospace systems to automotive, industrial, and consumer products.
“Natural fibers aren’t strong when compared to synthetic fibers like carbon fiber, and others,” Zafar tells YourStory. “But now, we are using the microwave curing method, which is cheap, and offers a high temperature to allow better-processed products.
The biodegradable composites also help create rural jobs, consume less energy, and are cheap to produce. Moisture absorption and long-term stability issues still need to be addressed for natural fiber-reinforced composites, however.