Recycling of composite materials

January 19, 2024

Composite materials are used in a wide range of applications such as automotive, aerospace and renewable energy industries. But they have not been properly recycled, due to their inherent nature of heterogeneity, in particular for the thermoset-based polymer composites. The current and future waste management and environmental legislations require all engineering materials to be properly recovered and recycled, from end-of-life (EOL) products such as automobiles, wind turbines and aircrafts. Recycling will ultimately lead to resource and energy saving. Various technologies, mostly focusing on reinforcement fibres and yet to be commercialized, have been developed: mechanical recycling, thermal recycling, and chemical recycling. However, lack of adequate markets, high recycling cost, and lower quality of the recyclates are the major commercialization barriers. To promote composites recycling, extensive R&D efforts are still needed on development of ground-breaking better recyclable composites and much more efficient separation technologies. It is believed that through the joint efforts from design, manufacturing, and end-of-life management, new separation and recycling technologies for the composite materials recycling will be available and more easily recyclable composite materials will be developed in the future.
Yongxiang Yang, Rob Boom, Brijan Irion, Derk-Jan van Heerden, Pieter Kuiper, Hans de Wit
Yongxiang Yang, Rob Boom, Brijan Irion, Derk-Jan van Heerden, Pieter Kuiper, Hans de Wit. (2012), Recycling of composite materials. Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification 51: 53-68,