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Regeneration of the performance of glass fibre recycled from end-of-life composites or glass fibre waste

Thomason, James and Yang, Liu and Kao, Chih-Chuan and Jenkins, Peter (2012) Regeneration of the performance of glass fibre recycled from end-of-life composites or glass fibre waste. In: International Glass Fiber Symposium, 2012-10-16 - 2012-10-19.

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Thomason_JL_Pure_Regeneration_of_the_performance_of_glass_fibre_recycled_from_end_of_life_composites_or_glass_fibre_waste_Oct_2012abstract.docx - Preprint

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Abstract

The disposal of end-of-life composite products in an environmentally friendly manner is one of the most important challenges facing the industry and community. It is projected that the total global production of composite materials will significantly exceed 10 million tons by 2015, which will occupy a volume of over 5 million cubic meters. Glass fibre reinforced composites account for approximately 90% of all the fibre reinforced composites currently produced. About 60% of this volume employs thermosetting matrix materials producing composites (GRP) which are difficult and expensive to recycle in an efficient manner. This issue has been recently highlighted due to the anticipated growth in the use of such composite materials in sectors such as automotive and renewable energy generation. Many GRP market sectors such as wind turbine applications have growth rates well into double figures with a predicted 6 million tons of GRP wind turbine blades to be produced globally over the coming decade. Currently most of this type material is destined for landfill at the end of its application lifetime; the UK is already estimated to produce 160,000 Tons of GRP waste each year of which 98% goes to landfill.