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RESCOLL & JEC Magazine present : « A second life for production scrap » (une seconde vie pour les chutes de production)

Rescoll’Blog / 2 mars 2017

Production scrap and end-of-life products are a real challenge for the future of composites. The main goal of the WASTEcost project is to find a solution to upgrade waste from carbon-fibre-reinforced composites in order to manufacture an ecoproduct.

Carbon’s low-weight and strength properties are now well-known, and carbon is being used more and more in leading industries, like transportation (e.g. aviation, automotive), renewable energies (e.g. wind turbine blades), and competitive sports (e.g. sailing, Formula 1).

Used to reinforce a resin – usually epoxy – it makes the end product remarkably more stable and durable over time. As paradoxical as it may seem, these advantages also constitute a disadvantage insofar as there are currently few industrially viable solutions for recycling waste from this material (production scrap, part trimming) and carbon-containing products that reach end of life as, for example, will be the case for the Airbus A350 (52% carbon) when its operating life is over. In this context, research company Rescoll applied its earlier research (refer to JEC Magazine issues 85 and 90) towards the launch of the WASTEcost project a year ago. The project’s main goal is to find a solution to upgrade the waste from carbon-fibre-reinforced composites in order to create an ecoproduct.

A chain of partners

The two-year project is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and led by RESCOLL in partnership with Stelia Aerospace, C3Technologies, and the Marcel Dassault secondary technical school for plastics processing in Rochefort. Through this project, the technological, techno-economic and environmental issues involved are explored.

That is the framework around the project. On the technical side, one of the upgrade challenges concerns the mechanical grinding of the carbon/epoxy composite waste, which is a key step in breaking the waste down to a size where it can be integrated into a thermoplastic resin as reinforcement. Rescoll currently uses this new compound (its excellent mechanical properties will be presented later on) to manufacture a yarn dedicated to additive manufacturing. After months spent perfecting this unusual blend and optimizing the different methods for processing it, Rescoll is now focusing on 3D printing of a plastic yarn reinforced with carbon/epoxy composite.

Additive manufacturing

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