Upcycling waste carbon fibre into a high-performance injection moulding material
22nd of January 2020
Currently, the waste from weaving and processing carbon fibre (CF) has little value as there are few viable methods to re-use the materials and to utilise the still significant properties that remain in the fibres. At the same time a potentially huge benefactor of CF technology, the automotive industry, cannot viably use it due to the high cost of the material and the techniques used to mould it.
The project will utilise the reclamation techniques developed by Vartega Inc and combine it with the novel pellet manufacturing technique of Coventive Composites to produce a high volume, high-performance material with an attractive cost/performance profile for automotive applications. This will reduce the CF scrap waste stream and low-cost recycled carbon fibre will be utilised in vehicle light-weighting applications to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. With manufacturing expertise and concept demonstration provided by Far-UK and performance characterisation by the AMRC, the project will provide an understanding of the applications of the upcycled material.
The innovation within this project is in the chemical process to extract the carbon fibres from resin prepregs and in the use of discontinuous fibres for a continuous pultrusion process to make pellets. Combined, these two innovations will result in a rare case of waste materials being utilised to create a high-performance material.