Adaption of green composite in automotive part replacements: discussions on material modification and future patronage
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept of green composite in automotive part replacement. Adaptation of lightweight materials in transport system has been an integral part of weight saving measures in car’s component formation. The continuing rise in ambient temperature is a signal no scientist would ever ignore in the face of global warming and attendant water level surge. Reduction of body system of automobile vehicles has been ongoing for several years with huge patronage on synthetic materials. The sudden attention to green composite may not be unconnected with the environmental impact of vehicular materials after their life cycle. This has led to the improved properties of polymeric materials to replace ferrous and nonferrous metals in vehicle formation. In this paper, an in-depth study was undertaken on sustainable green materials limiting the scope on the plant fibre for automotive part replacement. Plant fibres are increasingly gaining momentum in view of their recyclability and environmental friendliness. It has been noted that nearly all automakers are exploring the recyclable or biodegradable materials for part replacement, making the green composite a material for the future. Part of the attracting properties of plant fibres is their relative high strength and stiffness with low cost and low CO2 emission. This is also, in addition, to their biodegradability and renewability. Further discussion in this paper centred on the difficulty in the modification of plant fibre for sustainable compatibility in part formations. Key of the conclusions drawn from this work indicates a promising future for plant fibres with enormous challenges relating to their chemical treatment.
KeywordsGreen materials Automotive parts Weight reduction Sustainability Climate change
The author would like to appreciate National Research Foundation (NRF) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) for funding the fellowship leading to this manuscript. Appreciation also goes to the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, for providing the platform to conduct this research. The constructive comments received from the two anonymous reviewers and the guest editor are appreciated.
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