Upgrading and reuse of glass fibre recycled from end-of-life composites

J L Thomason, L Yang, K Pender

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The value of recycled glass fibres is significantly reduced due to the loss of fibre strength and surface functionality that occurs during recycling. Results are presented from the ReCoVeR project on the regeneration of the strength of thermally conditioned glass fibres. Thermal recycling of end-of-life glass fibre reinforced composites or composite manufacturing waste delivers fibres with virtually no residual strength or value. Composites produced from such fibres also have extremely poor mechanical performance. Data is presented showing that a short hot alkali treatment of glass fibres which have been heat treated at typical composite recycling temperatures can more than triple their strength and restore their ability to act as an effective reinforcement in second life composite materials. Glass fibre recovered from fluidised bed recycling of composite materials exhibited much greater levels of mechanical abrasion damage. However, the strength of these fibres could also be increased to levels required in composite reinforcement by longer or more aggressive alkali treatment. The implications of these results for real materials reuse of recycled glass fibres as replacement for pristine reinforcement fibres are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012002
Number of pages11
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2020
Event41st Riso International Symposium on Materials Science: Materials and Design for Next Generation Wind Turbine Blades - Roskilde, Denmark
Duration: 7 Sep 202010 Sep 2020


  • recycling
  • recycling & reuse of materials
  • glass fibre
  • glass fibre reinforced polymer composties
  • GRP recycling

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