Skip to main content

Re-use of glasfibre reinforced plastics by selective shredding and re-activating the recyclate

Article Category

Article available in the folowing languages:

Recycling glass and carbon fibres

Glass and carbon fibres contained in composite materials are valuable products that are worth recovering for other uses. New recycling solutions for waste composite materials were identified and tested within the REACT project with the aim of finding use for the end products in industrial applications.

Industrial Technologies

Enhancements of fuel efficiency are strongly needed to reduce environmental burdens in the transport sector. Engineers have thought of switching from conventional steel to light metals such as aluminium, and even advanced composite materials. In particular, glass and carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (FRPs) have attracted much attention because they have such high strength and rigidity. KEMA Nederland BV initiated the European research project REACT to improve the potential of recycled composite waste materials in reinforcement applications. The high cost of composite raw materials, inhibiting the widespread use of fibre-reinforced plastics was sought to be addressed by recovering fibres from waste and end-of-life products. Most of the waste generated by the use and manufacture of glass- and carbon-based composites that have almost infinite life is currently disposed in landfill sites. As European regulations now limit landfill disposal, producers of FRP products, a recycling company and research institutes joined their forces to develop advanced recycling technology for FRPs. Project partners used the currently available recycling processes as a basis to make a major leap forward and lower the productions costs of FPRs. A variety of composite waste materials were tested with the aim of identifying and ultimately tackling the drawbacks of the waste collection system. Recyclates of a higher value could be produced by means of a fit for the purpose of size reduction and surface activation treatment. During the composite materials' disintegration through pure mechanical granulation or pyrolytic cracking, the plastic surrounding reinforcing fibres could be separated and subsequently used as active filler material.

Discover other articles in the same domain of application