Master's Thesis Presentation: Sustainable Materials Selection Tool -- Life Cycle Assessment of Natural Fiber Composites for Auto Applications

Event Type: 
Claire Boland, MS, Sustainable Systems
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 7:20pm to 7:40pm
1028 Dana Building
Event Sponsor: 
School of Natural Resources and Environment

Presenter: Claire Boland, MS, Sustainable Systems

Client: Ford Motor Company

Adviser: Gregory Keoleian

My thesis used life cycle assessment to evaluate the energy and emissions associated with the substitution of conventional materials with bio-based materials on vehicles. Traditional materials, such as glass fiber reinforced composites, were replaced with natural fiber reinforced composites that have the same mechanical properties. Each stage of the life cycle, from raw material extraction, including growing the fiber, through to the scrapping of the car, was modeled. The sourcing of materials from various supplier locations was also considered. This analysis was then incorporated into a Material Selection Tool, where different vehicles, components and materials could be modeled. Using this dynamic tool, a better understanding of which vehicles should be targets for lightweight materials can be drawn.

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