Applications for carbon fibre recovered from composites

Pickering, S. J. and Liu, Z. and Turner, T. A. and Wong, K. H. (2016) Applications for carbon fibre recovered from composites. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 139 (1). 012005. ISSN 1757-899X

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    Abstract

    Commercial operations to recover carbon fibre from waste composites are now developing and as more recovered fibre becomes available new applications for recovered fibre are required. Opportunities to use recovered carbon fibre as a structural reinforcement are considered involving the use of wet lay processes to produce nonwoven mats. Mats with random in-plane fibre orientation can readily be produced using existing commercial processes. However, the fibre volume fraction, and hence the mechanical properties that can be achieved, result in composites with limited mechanical properties. Fibre volume fractions of 40% can be achieved with high moulding pressures of over 100 bar, however, moulding at these pressures results in substantial fibre breakage which reduces the mean fibre length and the properties of the composite manufactured. Nonwoven mats made from aligned, short carbon fibres can achieve higher fibre volume fractions with lower fibre breakage even at high moulding pressure. A process for aligning short fibres is described and a composite of over 60% fibre volume fraction has been manufactured at a pressures up to 100 bar with low fibre breakage. Further developments of the alignment process have been undertaken and a composite of 46% fibre volume fraction has been produced moulded at a pressure of 7 bar in an autoclave, exhibiting good mechanical properties that compete with higher grade materials. This demonstrates the potential for high value applications for recovered carbon fibre by fibre alignment.