In the Post-Use Plastic Foil solutions project we develop low-cost techniques to reprocess thin-walled waste plastics from local waste sources into products.
Heavily polluted plastics, such as post-consumer packaging, often have lower mechanical properties, as separating and cleaning of the various plastics involved is difficult and expensive. One option is to reinforce the material with glass fibres: as the final product’s mechanical properties are warranted by the reinforcements, the lower properties of the plastic becomes less critical . Thus, we applied the knowledge of continuous fibre reinforcement available at TPAC to investigate whether fibres can be integrated in-line into the extrudate. A heated extrusion head has been developed, with an internal rectangular cross-section of 24×10 mm, on which 4 tapes are integrated at both top and bottom during extrusion. The extrudate material used is PolyAl, the recyclate from TetraPak packaging. The tests done with this setup have proven to be successful: it works well to co-extrude tapes integrated into the beam, and hence the product becomes much stronger and stiffer. To apply this principle, it is necessary to pass the extrudate through a calibration tool (as is usually the case), to bring the product into the correct shape, just after it as left the die.
The project is financed by Regieorgaan SIA, part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) through a RAAK-MKB subsidy: for more details see here.