ReCoVeR - Regenerated Composite Value Reinforcement

Project: Research

Description

End of life recovery and regeneration of 20% the annual global total of 5 million Tons of glass fibre used in composite production would have an estimated market value of £1,000 million. The reuse of these materials would result in a huge reduction in the environmental impact of the advanced composites industry. Work is needed to extend the fundamental knowledge that will enable the regeneration of the mechanical properties of glass fibres which are degraded during the thermal recycling of glass reinforced composites and explore novel routes to the recycling and reuse of these materials. Definition of this fundamental science is urgently required in order to catalyse and support the development of an economically viable manufacturing process for regenerating the properties of thermally recycled glass fibres and is therefore the aim of this proposal.

In order to accomplish this aim this project will deliver on the following objectives:

• Research and generate a fully-validated understanding of the loss in strength of glass fibre reinforcements due to high temperature and mechanical treatments similar to those experienced in the thermal recycling of GRP.
• Define the ability of a range of chemical surface treatments for regenerating the tensile strength of thermally conditioned glass fibres.
• Exploit these data in combination with engineering experience to design advanced coatings for pristine glass fibre products to better enable end of life recycling and reuse.
• Explore potential applications for, and environmental benefits of, second life product development using regenerated glass fibres.

Layman's description

The ultimate goal of this project is to enable cost-effective regeneration of the mechanical properties of glass fibres which have been produced from thermal recycling of glass reinforced structural composites (such as wind turbine blades).

Key findings

• The development of a cost-effective technology to regenerate the properties of thermally recycled glass fibres will have major environmental benefits
• Glass fibres lose most of their strength after a short recycling heat treatment above 400°C
• Mechanism of strength loss involves both glass fibre sizing degradation and changes in glass fibre structure
• Thermal conditioning of glass fibres also drastically reduces end-use composite performance
• We have developed cost-effective treatments to ReCoVeR the strength of thermally recycled glass fibres and 80% or more of the composite performance
AcronymReCoVeR
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/11/1131/07/15

Funding

  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £461,412.80

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Glass fibers
Reinforcement
Composite materials
Recycling
Costs
Glass
Mechanical properties
Fiber reinforced materials
Product development
Wind turbines
Turbomachine blades
Environmental impact
Surface treatment
Tensile strength
Heat treatment

Keywords

  • Recycling, Circular Economy, Composites, Glass Fibres, GRP