AIMPLAS begins research on developing more efficient methods of recycling composite materials
The main goal of the European SPARTA project, coordinated by AIMPLAS with the participation of TEKNIKER, is to find a new method of recycling and reprocessing composite thermoplastic materials that reduces both the amount of waste generated by the aerospace industry and its environmental impact.
AIMPLAS will focus development on improving the reprocessing of recovered materials through automatic deposition, analysing the properties of the scrap waste obtained, and preparing an eco-design and good practices guide that facilitates rapid scale-up of the technology. The aerospace industry is stepping up its use of composite materials because of the advantages they offer in terms of weight reduction and strength. One of the drawbacks of these composite materials is the complex recycling process.
TEKNIKER will contribute its knowledge of and experience in mechanical cutting to the development and optimisation of an innovative mechanical scrapping process using simulation and experimentation, while AIMPLAS focuses on improving material reprocessing through automatic deposition and compression moulding.
The new method will make it possible to use up to 80% of current aerospace waste compared to other mechanical recycling methods, cut processing times by as much as 50% by reducing the number of steps involved in waste recovery, use more efficient automatic reprocessing methods, reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30% by using waste, and curb production demand for virgin material.
The result of this project will be new, high-quality composite thermoplastic products manufactured from recycled materials at a production cost 15 to 20% lower than current mechanical recycling and scrap reprocessing procedures due to a streamlined operation and automated manufacturing processes.