Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (Wilhelm-Klauditz Institute WKI) have succeeded in developing a new lightweight construction material with a flax fiber content of up to 50%. Such hybrid fiber materials (Bio-HFW) are combined with carbon fibers and used, for example, in vehicle construction as well as in the manufacture of helmets or skis. The material’s bending strength is twice that of flax fiber-reinforced epoxy resin.

Alongside the ecological benefits, Bio-HFW will also be simpler and cheaper to process than conventional lightweight manufacturing processes where finished fabrics are layered on top of each other: a double gripper weaving machine weaves reinforcing and matrix fibers into multilayer fabrics and three-dimensional structures in just one work step. It is also possible to integrate conductive yarns or wires as sensors. An additional advantage of bio-composites with a high proportion of renewable raw materials is the reduced dependence of the processing industry on the oil industry .