As demand grows for cars with gas-sipping, hybrid or electric engines, so grows the demand for other vehicle parts made with less fossil fuel, sustainable raw materials and improved performance features. The Lenzing Group, Austrian manufacturer of TENCEL® cellulose fibers, aims to reinvent automotive materials with new applications for the fibers, derived from eucalyptus wood. A sustainable option, eucalyptus grows quickly without irrigation, even on land that is unsuited to most agricultural food products. Lenzing has developed the product using an eco-friendly process as well.
As either a fiber or a powder, TENCEL can be used as reinforcement in plastic parts, improving plastic’s impact strength and crash performance with fiber elongation of 10 percent, and as little as 30 percent TENCEL fibers mixed with conventional textiles improves moisture-management properties of upholstery textiles and carpet. As separator papers for condensers used in air conditioning and audio systems, TENCEL-enhanced filters can be made thin to save space and improve system performance.