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Basalt fiber is environmentally friendly and easy recyclable material

Basalt fiber is completely natural and produced from widely spread basalt mineral



Basalt Composite Wins SPE Automotive Innovation Award

At its 36th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on November 13, 2006, the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers announced category and Grand Award winners for Most Innovative Use of Plastics competition.

The most significant was a basalt fiber based headliner developed for the 2007 Acura MDX, which won in the environmental category ( What makes this headliner so interesting are the forces that drove its development. Honda has been challenged by a variety of end-of-life issues with its vehicles, particularly in Japan and Europe, where incineration is the norm. The problem with fiberglass-based headliners is that as the glass fibers melt during incineration, they stick to the inside of the incineration chamber. The result is a costly clean-up effort and significant downtime. Japan 's Recycling and Treatment Council has gone so far as to legislate that the auto OEM must pay fines to recoup the costs associated with such clean-ups. Faced with this, Honda went in search of fiber glass alternatives. The solution: basalt.

Honda supplier M-Tek Inc. (Manchester, Term.) chose Azdel's ( Forest, Va. ) VolcaLite, a low-density GMT material reinforced with long chopped basalt fibers. Although VolcaLite brings a lot of properties to the headliner that make it a good substitute for fiberglass (comparable mechanics, acoustics, and formability with no VOCs), the clincher is basalt's 1400°C melting point. This means that after a basalt-based headliner is incinerated, the only product left is unmolten, fully usable basalt fibers that can be swept from the incineration chamber and recycled. Honda says the use of basalt will save it at least $500,000 annually in environmental fees.

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