Recycling of FRP composites: reusing fine GFRP waste in concrete mixtures

January 19, 2024

Abstract
Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) materials are being increasingly used in several applications, but especially in the construction and transportation industries. The composites industry is now producing a wide range of FRP products that include strengthening strips and sheets, reinforcing bars, structural profiles, sandwich panels, moulded planks and piping. The waste management of FRP materials, in particular those made with thermosetting resins, is a critical issue for the composites industry because these materials cannot be reprocessed. Therefore, most thermosetting FRP waste is presently sent to landfill, in spite of the significant environmental impact caused by disposing of it in this way. Because more and more waste is being produced throughout the life cycle of FRPs, innovative solutions are needed to manage it. This paper first presents a state-of-the-art review of the present alternatives available to manage FRP waste. It then describes an experimental study conducted on the technical feasibility of incorporating the fine waste generated during the manufacturing of glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) composites in concrete mixtures. Tests were carried out to evaluate the fresh-state and hardened-state properties of concrete mixes in which between 0% and 20% of sand was replaced by GFRP fine waste. Although the incorporation of high proportions of GFRP waste was found to worsen concrete performance in terms of both mechanical and durability-related properties, it seems feasible to incorporate low proportions and reuse GFRP fine waste in concrete, particularly in non-structural applications such as architectural concrete or pavement slabs, where good mechanical properties are less important. 
Author
João R. Correia, Nuno M. Almeida, João R. Figueira
Citation
João R. Correia, Nuno M. Almeida, João R. (2011), Recycling of FRP composites: reusing fine GFRP waste in concrete mixtures. Journal of Cleaner Production 19(15): 1745-1753. Doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.05.018.