Continues fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (TPC) are gaining interest in aerospace and more recently also sporting goods, automotive and industrial sectors. The growing demand results in increasing post industrial waste. During the production process up to 1/3 of the material is waste resulting in circa 1000 ton of high-end TPC till 2024 in the Netherlands only. Lately, also more low-cost high-volume materials are used and resulting in more production waste. Since there is no adequate recycling solution for TPC materials, the waste is often disposed. The result is a considerable economical loss. For high-end TPC roughly 100M euro is estimated. Beside the economic motivation, legislation and more environmental awareness is making recycling more interesting. In contrary to their thermosetting counterparts TPC can be reprocessed by reheating and is therefore considered to be recyclable.
The TPC-Cycle project aims at developing a recycling route for TPC materials. The research focuses on the optimum process and process settings to cost-effectively reprocess TPC waste to obtain the highest performance possible. The project covers the total value chain, from design and size reduction to the forming of parts. To understand the influence on the mechanical performance of the material all processing steps are included in the project. The performance is measured by material performance regarding the stiffness, strength and impact toughness. These properties are a result of, among others, fiber length and degree of mixing. Costs are both economic and environmental. Including the financial cost of the recycling to the value of the solution and the feasibility and risks involved and is validated by producing a demonstrator.
TPRC, TenCate Advanced Composites (Toray Group), Nido Recycling Techniek, DTC, Cato Composite Innovations, GKN Fokker Aerostructures, Saxion Lectoraat Industrial Design
4 years, Start in September 2015
RAAK-PRO subsidy, financed by Regieorgaan SIA, part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
TPC Cycle project in the NEWS
- GKN Aerospace thermoplastic composites featured on Bell V-280
Composites World website, News post: 20/06/2019
- Safety shoe nose from recycled thermoplastic composites
TPAC website, News post: 02/11/2018
- Saxion-student ontwerpt neus veiligheidsschoen van afvalcomposiet
KUNSTSTOF & RUBBER website, News post: 01/11/2018
- TPAC and TPRC develop thermoplastic composites recycling process
Composites World website, News post: 19/10/2018
- New recycling route for thermoplastic composites
TPAC website, News post: 17/10/2018
- Nederlandse onderzoekers geven ‘wondermateriaal’ koolstofvezelcomposiet tweede leven
SCIENTIAS article, 09/2017
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