Advisory Committee Chair
Advisory Committee Members
Date of Award
Degree Name by School
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering
Over the past two decades, composites have shown their ability to help shape and define sustainability through many of their inherent characteristics, such as having high strength-to-weight ratio with long life cycles. However, composites in general are not widely recycled. Current production scrap, reject parts and end of life components are disposed of in landfills, which is costly and damaging to the environment. Driven largely by public perception and technology, the composites industry is starting to put efforts into research and design of composite recycling. Two of the biggest hurdles to widespread composite recycling is the lack of knowledge for possible applications of the resulting recycled composite and the lack of knowledge for recycling. The lack of knowledge can be anything from ways to recycle, the missing network of who is recycling, or addressing the logistics of composite recycling. This body of work aims to provide composites manufacturers with a preliminary road map for recycling scrap from various avenues in an economically viable manner to foster sustainability and new market opportunities in an already booming industry. This goal is achieved through (4) main research topics outlined below: (1) Characterization and process optimization of inherently recyclable composites, such as thermoplastic glass filled trim offs, to achieve maximum mechanical properties as compared to virgin long fiber thermoplastics. (2) Characterization and optimization of current recycling methods of inherently non-recyclable composites, such as thermoset composites, which includes shredding, grinding and/or granulating. (3) Characterization of recyclable thermosets through designed chemistry, i.e. hardeners designed with shear lips that can be reversed under controlled conditions. Recovered linear chain thermosets will be processed neat, with reinforcement or alloyed for applications development. (4) Development of educational modules for industry that explore the motivation for recycling, the health and safety considerations of processing and handling secondary recycled materials, and the possible applications and market penetration for secondary composite products. Currently there is no economically viable path for recycling of composites. This work aims to develop a roadmap for recycling these materials. This work attempts to present feasible alternatives to landfilling which have potential to open up new market applications. Key Words: Composite Recycling, Industry Training, Manufacturing Scrap, Recycling Thermosets, Recycling Thermoplastics, Recycling Education
Hardin, Kristin Nicole, "Recycling of Secondary Composite Materials" (2019). All ETDs from UAB. 1868.