Carded Recycled Carbon Fiber Mats for the Production of Thermoset Composites via Infusion/Compression Molding
The use of carbon fiber reinforced thermoset composites has doubled in the last decade raising questions about the waste generated from manufacturing and at end-of-life, especially in the aircraft industry. In this study, 2.5 cm long carbon fibers were recovered from thermoset composite waste using a commercial scale pyrolysis process. Scanning electron microscopy, density measurements, single filament tensile testing as well as micro-droplet testing were performed to characterize the morphology, mechanical properties, and surface adhesion of the fibers. The recycled fibers appeared to be mostly undamaged and clean, exhibiting comparable mechanical properties to virgin carbon fibers. A carding process followed by an ultrasound treatment produced randomly aligned recycled fiber mats. These mats were used to fabricate composite plates, with fiber volume fractions up to 40 %, by infusion / compression molding.