European Project Develops Recycling Route for Thermoplastic Composites

TPAC and TPRC have developed a recycling process for thermoplastic composites which is said to offer high mechanical performance and design freedom at low cost.

With the growth of applications for thermoplastic composites, the amount of scrap generated is increasing and reaching substantial volumes. Considering the high commercial value of this material, as well as legal and environmental reasons, the development of specific recycling solutions is therefore of interest.

The TPC-Cycle project targets production scrap by developing a recycling route for high-end and high volume markets. The objective is to retain the high mechanical properties of thermoplastic composites and reduce the overall environmental impact at affordable cost. The project encompasses the whole process, from waste collection to shredding, reprocessing and application and was developed in collaboration with industrial partners for every step. The recycling solution features short cycle times, net-shape manufacturing and enables the production of complex shapes. High mechanical properties are obtained by retaining long fibre lengths. A video highlighting the various processing steps and some advantages of such a solution is available here:

Three demonstrators are currently being developed to show the application in a high value market by an aerospace part and high volume market by a safety shoe nose cap.

Research centres TPAC and TPRC run the project in collaboration with industrial partners in the value chain, from material, manufacturing, design and application: GKN Aerospace Fokker Business, TenCate Advanced Composites, Cato Composite Innovations, Dutch Thermoplastic Components and Nido RecyclingTechniek. The project is facilitated by Saxion and with the financial support of Regieorgaan SIA, part of The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Companies: ThermoPlastic composites Application Center

Technologies: Recycling

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