Recycling of Commercial E-glass Reinforced Thermoset Composites via Two Temperature Step Pyrolysis to Improve Recovered Fiber Tensile Strength and Failure Strain
Economic and regulatory pressures on the global composites industry have encouraged the research and development of technology for the recycling of fiber reinforced polymer composites. Although significant advancements have been made in the recycling of carbon fiber composites, more progress is needed in the recovery of glass fibers, which make up the overwhelming volume of the composites market. In this study, wind turbine blades and automotive sheet moulding compound (SMC) were subjected to a two temperature step pyrolysis. This multistep process yielded improvements in the recovered E-glass fiber&rsquo;s tensile strength, by as much as 19%, and strain to failure, by as much as 43%, over a single high temperature step pyrolysis. Despite these gains, pre-pyrolysis fiber measurements indicate that pre-existing damage may inherently limit the quality of glass fiber recoverable from pyrolysis without any post processing.