Thermoset composite recycling - Driving forces, development, and evolution of new opportunities

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Overcash, Michael
Twomey, Janet M.
Asmatulu, Eylem
Vozzola, Eric
Griffing, Evan M.

Michael Overcash, Janet Twomey, Eylem Asmatulu, Eric Vozzola, and Evan Griffing. 2018. Thermoset composite recycling - Driving forces, development, and evolution of new opportunities. Journal of Composite Materials, vol 52:no. 8:pp 1033-1043


Thermoset composites represent a substantial challenge for recycling, even as composite products increase in market interest. The concept of putting all future thermoset composite products into landfills over the next decades is unlikely to continue. This paper examines the three eras in the history of thermoset product recycling, the drivers for increased recycling, and possible future trends. Technology for managing thermoset composite products at end-of-life first focused on retrieving fiber and to a lesser extent resin. Then in a second era, research focused on better utilization of recovered fiber and finally the third era is now keeping more of the original resin-fiber structure to reuse these composites. Drivers are emerging to stimulate thermoset recycling, including States with success in recycling other challenging products (tires, carpets, automobile parts, etc.) setting policy and fees to encourage recycling. The evolution of heat recovery as a thermoset recycling option in Europe is another driver. Additionally, efforts at certification of recycled fiber quality may stimulate greater reuse.

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