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The rise of natural fibers in composites

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In Europe alone, sales of natural fibers for use in composites could increase to 40,000 – 50,000 tons by 2015, compared with 20,000 tons in 2010, according to a report from Textiles Intelligence. Manufacturers are eyeing natural fibers such as flax and hemp to reduce weight, achieve a better environmental balance, reduce costs and manufacture complex structural elements. In the next two years, automotive manufacturers will release new models with considerably more interior parts made from natural fiber reinforcements.

Holly O’Dell is a freelance writer based in Pine City, Minn.

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