Title: Life cycle assessment of flax-fibre reinforced epoxidized linseed oil composite with a flame retardant for electronic applications
Authors: Deng, Yelin ×
Paraskevas, Dimos
Tian, Yajun
Van Acker, Karel
Dewulf, Wim
Duflou, Joost #
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2016
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann, Ltd
Series Title: Journal of Cleaner Production vol:133 pages:427-438
Abstract: The use of biobased materials to replace their conventional, synthetic counterparts is clearly increasing today. An interesting application, printed circuit board substrates based on biobased materials, has recently been proposed, produced, and tested by several researchers. Building on these exploratory studies, this paper aims to evaluate and compare the environmental impact of biobased and conventional printed circuit board substrates. The conventional materials for printed circuit board substrates are epoxy resin reinforced by woven glass fibre fabric. Recent studies demonstrate that epoxidized linseed oil reinforced by flax fibre can meet most of the requirements specified in standards for printed circuit board substrates. A functional unit of 1 m2 of a printed circuit board substrate was selected for the comparative cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment, and incineration with energy recovery has been considered as an end-of-life scenario.

The comparative life cycle assessment documented in this paper shows that a biobased printed circuit board substrate offers a clear impact reduction compared to the conventional design for most impact categories, except for freshwater toxicity, eutrophication, and land use. These are well-known problems for agro-products with pesticide and fertilizer use in cultivation. The environmental impact caused in the End-of-Life stage is generally negligible compared to the production stage for both types of printed circuit board substrates. However, the biobased substrate has a higher embodied energy compared to the conventional substrate, and consequently enables lowering of the fuel use for incineration or providing a higher energy output in the case of a combustion scenario. It can be concluded that the biobased design, composed of flax-fibre reinforced epoxidized linseed oil, is characterized by a lower overall environmental impact. The aggregated weighted eco-points score obtained using the ReCiPe methodology is 42 % lower than for the conventional design for the chosen functional unit and scenario. Because the extensively measured technical properties of the biobased substrate were found to comply with almost all international standard specifications, the biobased design offers promising perspectives for further study. However, for industrial application, the major weaknesses of biobased materials, such as the high water absorbance, must be addressed. In addition, the higher land use raises considerable concern, indicating conflicts over food cultivation for use of biobased materials for manufacturing purposes.
ISSN: 0959-6526
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Centre for Industrial Management / Traffic & Infrastructure
Sustainable Metals Processing and Recycling
Mechanical Engineering Technology TC, Campus Group T Leuven
Technologiecluster Werktuigkundige Industriƫle Ingenieurstechnieken
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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