Applications of Natural Fibers in Automotive Industry in Brazil — Thermoforming Process

  • Alcides L. Leao
  • Roger Rowell
  • Nilton Tavares


Environmental and economical concerns are stimulating research in the development of new materials for construction, furniture, packaging and automotive industries. Particularly attractive are the new materials in which a good part is based on natural renewable resources, preventing further stresses on the environment by depleting dwindling wood resources from forests. Examples of such raw material sources are annual growth native crops/plants/fibers, which are abundantly available in tropical regions. These plants/fibers (like jute and sisal) have been used for hundreds of years for many applications such as ropes, beds, bags, etc. If new uses of fast growing, native plants can be developed for high value, non-timber based materials, there is a tremendous potential of creating jobs in the rural sector. These renewable, non-timber based materials could reduce the use of traditional materials such as wood, minerals and plastics for some applications. There is a tremendous interest by the pharmaceutical industry in exploring the rain forest for new drugs, but so far there has been little interest in exploring the rain forest for fast growing native plants as a fiber source. In applications such as ropes, new materials, such as nylon, have replaced locally grown fibers like sisal and jute. Therefore, increasing interest in saving the forest and at the same time creating rural employment means that new materials have to be developed to use locally available non-wood renewable resources. The advantages of these plants are that they are fast-growing and renewable, and sometimes are also a source of food supply for animals and even humans.


Rice Straw Rain Forest Sugar Cane Bagasse Natural Fiber Thermoplastic Composite 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alcides L. Leao
    • 1
  • Roger Rowell
    • 2
  • Nilton Tavares
    • 3
  1. 1.UNESP, FCACampus BotucatuBrazil
  2. 2.USDAForest Products LaboratoryMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Toro Ind. e Com. LtdDiademaBrazil

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