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Investigation of the strength of thermally conditioned basalt and e-glass fibres

Jenkins, Peter and Riopedre Mendez, Sara and Saez Rodriguez, Eduardo and Yang, Liu and Thomason, James (2015) Investigation of the strength of thermally conditioned basalt and e-glass fibres. In: 20th International Conference on Composite Materials, 2015-07-19 - 2015-07-24.

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It is projected that the total global production of composite materials will significantly exceed 10 million tons by 2015 of which over 90% will contain glass fibre reinforcement. Traditionally most of this composite material would be directed to landfill at end of life. Thus, recycling composites has started to gain great importance due to environmental and commercial aspects. The development of an efficient process to enable cost-effective regeneration of the mechanical properties of fibre for recycling, could result in a huge decrease of landfill disposal as well as the attenuation in CO2 emissions. There are several processes available for recycling composites but the most technologically advanced is thermal recycling. However, during the recycling process glass fibres that are treated at temperatures in a range between 300 up to 600 °C exhibit a huge drop in strength and as a result sometimes are considered as not reusable or unsuitable for reprocessing [1]. Although basalt fibre has been available for some time, recent development in the processing and production of basalt has resulted in the availability of continuous basalt fibre in similar form to traditional glass fibre. It is often stated that basalt has better high temperature resistance compared to E-glass fibre [2,3]. If this were true then basalt fibre may show better prospects to survive an end-of-life composite thermal recycling process as a useful reinforcement. The present work investigates and compares the changes in the mechanical properties of basalt fibres and E-Glass fibres when heat-treated to between 300 – 600 °C. Since the fibre surface plays an important role in the retained strength of brittle fibres, the investigation used fibre with similar epoxy compatible sizings in order to maximise the quality of the comparison. Results of single fibre testing of tensile strength and modulus are presented and discussed.