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Recycling Alternatives for LFT Machining Residue

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Recycling Alternatives for LFT Machining Residue


Over the years composites have shown their ability to help shape and define sustainability through many of their inherent characteristics such as being lightweight and having 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. Companies and customers alike are now more than ever focusing in on sustainability. Thermoplastic resins are typically regarded as recyclable as they are heat reversible and when combined with high strength fibers they become extremely attractive for structural applications. Long fiber thermoplastics (LFT) are regarded as an exciting area of growth for thermoplastics as they are widely accepted and used as alternatives to conventional fiber reinforced thermoplastics and even metals for numerous applications. Different avenues for recycling LFT products and manufacturing waste are available with the most common being repurposing into pellets by compounding the “waste” with a parent thermoplastic resin. Forgoing the compounding step can drive down cost. Another way to drive down cost for a production part would be to reuse a small percentage of the manufacturing scrap in the final product. A small percentage such as 10 % should not significantly drop the mechanical properties. If a ten pound part that requires post machining (say for two holes) were to incorporate 10 % machining residue from original parts and 90 % parent material where the parent material costs one dollar per pound and the production calls for one million parts the cost could be decreased by $1,000,000. The manufacturing waste would also avoid the landfill thus promising a sustainability factor to the customer. Preliminary thermal and mechanical characterization studies were performed on the machining residue of nylon-6,6 (PA66) LFT reinforced with glass fiber (GF) and compared to data of the virgin LFT. 10 % PA66/GF machining residue was combined with 90 % virgin PA66/GF LFT and extrusion compression molded to produce mechanical testing specimen. This study shows the viability of composite scrap such as machining residue to be reprocessed to make useful composite products that are competitive with the original product.


Authors: Kristin N. Hardin, Selvum Pillay


Conference: CAMX 2016 – Anaheim


SKU/Code: TP16-0116


Pages: 12


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