Importance of chemical pretreatment for carbon fibre recycled from composite by pyrolysis

Siqi Hao, Kok H. Wong, Xiaoling Liu, Chris D. Rudd

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recycling of carbon fibre remains one of the imminent global research topics in composite engineering. This work focuses on recovery of carbon fibres from carbon fibre reinforced plastic using a combination of a chemical pre-treatment followed by a pyrolysis process. The chemical pretreatment was achieved using a zinc chloride/ethanol solution catalytic system. The pyrolysis process was conducted in a thermalgravimetric analyser (TGA). The effect of such pre-treatment on the prepreg surface morphology and elemental composition were investigated by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). A non-treated prepreg was also investigated for benchmarking. After the thermal pyrolysis process, the fibre tensile properties were measured using a single fibre tester, and the surface morphology of recycled carbon fibres was investigated by SEM. Virgin carbon fibres were also included in the study for benchmarking. After pre-treatment, some tiny cracks appeared on the surface of carbon fibre prepreg. During the pyrolysis process, the devolatilisation temperature of the pre-treated prepreg reduced by around 20-30°C and the peak temperature was 40-50°C lower compared to that of the non-treated prepreg. After pyrolysis in nitrogen with a small amount of air, loose carbon fibres were recovered, and their surface was clean. The chemical per-treatment process reduces the pyrolysis temperature and oxidation time effectively compared to the conventional pyrolysis process.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event22nd International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM 2019 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 11 Aug 201916 Aug 2019


Conference22nd International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM 2019


  • Carbon fibre
  • Chemical treatment
  • Recycling
  • Thermal pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Ceramics and Composites


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