1994-03-01

Application of Selective Dissolution to the Recycling of Commingled Automotive Plastics 941023

Approximately twenty-five percent of automotive shredder residue (ASR) consists of the many different types of plastics typically utilized in a vehicle. In order to recover and re-use this material from the ASR, certain separation techniques for each polymer are needed. This paper will discuss the feasibility of applying the selective dissolution method to the recycling of commingled automotive plastics.
In the first stage, an instrument panel consisting of more than twelve different polymers from Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc. (TMM) in Kentucky, was selected to study. These polymers are typical of materials used in automotive applications and represent the variety of polymers used widely in other automotive parts. Next, it was necessary to fully understand each virgin polymer's material composition and properties, so that precise analytical data and physical properties of the recovered polymers could be compared and discussed. For actual processing, the solvents and dissolution conditions were selected for the recovery of eight polymers, each of which had weight percentages greater than two percent of the total weight of the instrument panel assembly. Each recovered polymer was analyzed to quantify contamination from other polymers and from various organic ingredients, and then remolded for physical property measurements. Although the separation by selective dissolution produced fairly pure polymers, their physical properties were somewhat lower than those of the virgin polymers. This point, and the application feasibility of selective dissolution to the recycling of commingled automotive plastics will be discussed.

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