Collaboration between Global Fiberglass Solutions and Washington State University

March 25 2019

A WSU research team for the first time has developed a promising way to recycle the popular carbon fiber plastics that are used in everything from modern airplanes and sporting goods to the wind energy industry.

The works, reported in Polymer Degradation and Stability and Green Chemistry, exemplify two efficient ways to re-use the expensive carbon fiber and other materials that make up the composites. The researchers were able to preserve the carbon fibers as well as the resin material in a useful form that could be easily re-used. They have filed for two patents and are working to commercialize their methods.

In terms of the efforts for commercialization, WSU industry partner Global Fiberglass Solutions is poised to take this technology to a booming composites market in dire need of recycling solutions. The CFRP market is set to reach $20.3 billion by 2020, the industry growth accelerated primarily by aerospace giants-- Boeing and Airbus. GFS and the state-funded Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) together provided funding for Dr. Zhang’s research team’s operations.

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