Biocomposites challenge chipboard as furniture material. Researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a kitchen furniture framework material from plastic polymers reinforced with natural fibre. The new material reduces raw materials consumption by 25–30 per cent and the carbon footprint of production by 35–45 per cent.
“The frames are lighter by nearly a third because they contain more air,” says VTT’s Research Professor Ali Harlin. “Wastage during production is also reduced. This is a generational shift that revolutionizes both manufacturing techniques and design.”
According to Harlin, the framework for the kitchen of the future will be compression moulded or extruded - familiar methods in the plastics industry. The result is a component of exact dimensions, which does not need to be cut or drilled after production. Even the screw-holes are there when the component comes off the production line.