Developments in the fluidised bed process for fibre recovery from thermoset composites

S. J. Pickering, T. A. Turner, F. Meng, C. N. Morris, J. P. Heil, K. H. Wong, S. Melendi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is being used in increasing quantities particularly in the transport industry to reduce carbon emissions through weight reduction and in the energy industries for renewable technologies, such as wind turbines. As a high value and energy intensive material to manufacture a good case can be made for recovering and reusing carbon fibre from waste material. A number of companies in Europe and the USA are now in the early stages of commercial operation, but the focus is upon the recycling of clean, uncontaminated scrap from manufacturing processes and it is recognised that CFRP that is mixed with other materials eg. sandwich panels, metal inserts, painted surfaces and composites made from toughened polymers are more difficult to recycle effectively with existing commercial processes. The fluidised bed process developed at the University of Nottingham for recovering carbon fibre from waste composite material has the potential to process mixed and contaminated CFRP waste. The oxidising conditions allow full removal of any organic materials and the fluidised bed effectively separates the carbon fibres from other incombustible materials, such as metals. The process has now been developed to a scale representative of commercial operation and a waste CFRP comprising intermediate modulus carbon fibre and toughened epoxy resin has been processed successfully and good quality recycled fibres recovered. This paper will present the results and discuss the quality of the carbon fibre recovered from the process. A discussion of some of the key requirements to build a viable fluidised bed plant will also be presented.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd Annual Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, CAMX 2015 - Dallas, United States
Duration: 26 Oct 201529 Oct 2015


Conference2nd Annual Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, CAMX 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Materials Science
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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