BASF has cooperated with International Automotive Components (IAC) to develop a roof frame for cars made entirely of natural fibre.

The Acrodur 950 L binder by BASF ensures the necessary loading capacity and heat resistance of the lightweight component. As an alternative to phenolic resins, the water-based and low-emission binder strengthens the natural fibres.

The IAC FibreFrame lightweight component is used for the first time in the new E-class of Mercedes-Benz. Cars fitted with the roof frame have been available from dealers in Europe since the beginning of this month.

"Natural-fibre roof frames based on Acrodur 950 L are around 40% lighter than roof frames made from metal," said BASF head of marketing for dispersions for Fibre Bonding, Thorsten Habeck.

"We help car makers achieve their sustainability targets because lighter vehicles consume less fuel and have lower carbon emissions."

IAC developed the lightweight concept and produces the roof frame based on Acrodur 950 L. "It was easy to integrate the BASF binder into our production system," said IAC director advanced engineering, Fritz Schweindl.

"The natural fibre components strengthened with Acrodur are ideal to mould; they are environmentally friendly and save time during the production of the composites. Furthermore, the product is low in emissions, which means that it is safer to work with."