Composite Recycling Innovation

Dr. Jinwen Zhang, Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University, and his research team have developed a new method of carbon fiber recycling. Two years of JCATI funding allowed Dr. Zhang's team, along with industry partner Global Fiberglass Solutions, to create a  new mild chemical degradation process for recycling carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites. This technology could greatly impact Washington State's aersopace cluster. 

Aerospace and other transportation industries around the world increasingly rely on CFRP, which has dramatically increased the amount of scrap waste in landfills. Current recycling techniques use severe conditions resuting in end products with few virgin material properties. This new milder CFRP recycling protocol results in almost 100% recovery of both the fiber and the matrix polymer product, which can then be used to form new polymer composite materials. The project was the result of work by Dr. Zhang, Dr. Junna Xin, Dr. Tuan Liu and Xiolang Guo.  For more information on Dr. Zhang and his group's research, please visit his website.

Photo credit: WSU