Carbon/PET composites offer 50% of the tensile strength and 90-100% of the tensile modulus of an equivalent composite based on virgin fibres.
Carbon/PET composites offer 50% of the tensile strength and 90-100% of the tensile modulus of an equivalent composite based on virgin fibres.

The yarns and fabrics are blended carbon fibre / polyethylene terephthalate (PET) thermoplastic, manufactured from virgin recovered carbon fibre that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

To process them, the fabrics are simply placed in a mould tool under pressure and passed through a heating and cooling cycle.

According to Fibrecycle, these new materials have almost 100% of the stiffness of virgin materials, but they can be offered at a lower cost than similar products currently available on the market.

“The materials that have been developed have a significantly lower environmental impact than virgin carbon fibre, because they divert materials from landfill and do not consume the energy needed to produce new fibres," explains Fibrecycle Project Manager Dr Sophie Cozien-Cazuc of Advanced Composites Group (ACG).

"The properties achieved mean that it is suitable for many applications especially in the automotive, aerospace, sports and leisure, medical and energy sectors.”

The Fibrecycle team is now starting to tailor the material towards these applications, working with companies which are interested in using these lower-cost thermoplastic blended carbon fibre materials.

Fibrecycle

Fibrecycle is composed of six partners:

The aim of the project is to develop long and continuous yarn, based on carbon fibre recovered from waste streams, to allow the manufacture of technical fabric for the composites industry.

The project is nearing the end of its 4-year programme. Yarns, sliver and tape have been produced, together with both woven and non-crimp fabrics.

Composite laminates have been press-moulded, showing that the carbon/PET (50:50 weight ratio) composites offer at least 50% of the tensile strength and 90% of the tensile modulus of an equivalent composite based on virgin fibres.

The partners are now working towards low cost carbon/epoxy materials using recovered carbon fibre, as well as other thermoplastic matrices such as polypropylene (PP), polyamide (PA) and polyphenylene sulphide (PPS).