Dismantling and Recycling Composites

REFORM has investigated different dismantling-related recycling policies and activities in industries including aerospace, automotive, rail and marine.  At the start of the project, the aim was to target a 50% reduction in CO2-equivalent emissions when compared with conventional CFRP use.  However, the recycling strategies developed in REFORM have a potential energy-saving of 90% when compared to the use of virgin material

REFORM is investigating possible ways of reusing, recycling and recovering composite material as well as developing new markets for recycled composites. Around 3000 tonnes of carbon fibre composite scrap is produced every year. Meanwhile, the production of new carbon fibre material will rise to over 100,000 tonnes by 2018 and it is predicted that by 2034, around 225,000 tons of material will be recycled per year worldwide.  The aim of the recycling strategies developed in REFORM is to produced high-quality recycled composite material which needs 90% less energy to produce than virgin material.

Sicomp have developed two new methods to obtain clean fibres, Re-Fib and Re-Lam, which can be used for reinforced thermoset laminates and sandwich parts. Process simulations support the experimental work and the parameter envelope for each process has been determined.  Oven tests were carried out for different resin/fibre laminates (epoxies, vinylesters and polyesters), core materials (polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride and wood) and sandwich structured parts.

The results show that temperature is the main parameter to be controlled for obtaining clean reinforcing fibres. It was found that heating the samples to <400°C for 24 h was sufficient to thoroughly remove all resin and core materials from laminates and sandwich parts via thermal degradation.


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Funding

REFORM is a collaborative project of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission.


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