Video: Composites on the Airbus A350 XWB.

The use of composites in passenger aircraft continues to increase. The A350 XWB, the first Airbus aircraft to be over 50 wt% composite, made its maiden flight in June 2013

As part of the Airbus composites recycling programme, various research and technology projects for recycling carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) composites are either underway or planned at Airbus sites, in partnership with external organisations.

These projects seek to examine and validate the techniques and industrialisation for recycling and reusing waste products from the CFRP manufacturing process – including both cured wastes and uncured materials.

By 2020-2025, the project targets for 95% of CFRP manufacturing process wastes to go through a recycling channel, with 5% of the waste products to be recycled back into the aerospace sector.

The Airbus Composite Recycling Advisory Board is part of the company’s commitment to sustainable aviation – reducing the environmental impact throughout the entire aircraft lifecycle.

  • CFRP recycling has received great attention over the last 15 years, but the major challenge is the successful commercial implementation of recycling operations and the establishment of applications for the recycled composites (Handbook of Recycling: State-of-the-art for Practitioners, Analysts, and Scientists, 2014: Chapter Chapter 19 – Recycling of Carbon Fibers, pages 269-283).