Oxford Advanced Surfaces (OAS) has been awarded a £233,000 grant by Innovate UK to develop new surface treatments that can be used to create new lightweight composites from rescued carbon fibre.
The grant supports the Integrated Delivery Programme 12 (IDP12) initiative and OAS has won backing in the ‘light-weighting’ category that supports feasibility studies into how the weight of vehicles – and therefore CO2 emissions – can be appreciably reduced.
Scientists at OAS have started working in collaboration with The University of Manchester, a centre that has extensive skills in composite processing and testing, to deliver its Innovate UK-backed feasibility study.
“We’re delighted to be part of a such an important project that could not only revolutionise the way vehicles are produced in the future, but also have a massive impact on the environment and the UK economy,” Philip Spinks, OAS Chief Executive Officer, explained.
“We’re extremely excited to be working alongside our colleagues at The University of Manchester on this project and our focus will be on creating new surface treatments that can be used to make outstanding composites from rescued carbon fibre. The potential is very exciting because using rescued materials is great for the environment and is economical because it’s finding a higher value-add application for a recycled product.”
OAS will use carbon fibre that has been reclaimed from a variety of waste sources during its feasibility study and the Oxfordshire-based company is confident it can deliver a new composite specification that will bring significant benefits to the automotive industry.
Dr Jon-Paul Griffiths, OAS Technology Manager, said: “Recovered composites do exist, but our challenge is to use our expertise in surface treatment to develop a new breed of composite.
“The target is to be able to give the OEMs access to new materials that are suitable for use in a number of automotive applications, rather than just a handful. This evolution will prove beneficial when they are addressing the challenge of balancing performance, weight and cost.”
Oxford Advanced Surfaces has 18 months to complete its ‘rescued carbon fibre for use in the automotive industry’ feasibility study. It aims to develop data sheets and prototypes that will highlight uses for the new composite material it will develop.