Washington State University Researchers Develop Recyclable Composites

February 08 (2021

A WSU research team has created a recyclable carbon-fiber reinforced composite that could eventually replace the non-recyclable version used in everything from modern airplane wings and wind turbines to sporting goods.

Led by Jinwen Zhang, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, researchers developed a recyclable material that is as strong as commonly used carbon-fiber composites and can also be broken down in very hot water within a pressure vessel. The new material could be easily substituted into current manufacturing processes. The research team, including scientists from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, report on their work in the journal named Macromolecular Rapid Communications.

Zhang’s team developed a composite material that uses an epoxy vitrimer as an alternative to the traditional epoxy resin. The material is hard and durable like an epoxy thermoset but can also show self-healing and malleable properties at high temperatures like a thermoplastic.

“There is no need to change the chemistry of the process – it is just a slight modification of using the epoxy vitrimer instead of traditional epoxy,” Zhang said. “The technology is simply and readily applicable.”

For identifying growth opportunities in the global automotive thermoset resin composites market, please visit http://www.lucintel.com/thermoset_resin_in_automotive_composites.aspx

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