Catalytic Conversion Recycling Process for Composite Aircraft Components
Small Business Information
9621 Camino del Sol NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111
Ronald E. Allred
AbstractCured aircraft composite materials present a particularly difficult challenge for recycling technology. Those materials have mostly thermosetting epoxy matrices and occur in intimate association with metals, paints, and coatings. Current techniques for recycling thermoset composites, mostly for automotive sheet molding compounds (SMC), involve pulverizing the material for use as fillers. That approach does not reclaim the value from aircraft reinforcing fibers and may not be feasible for the skin-core constructions used in aircraft structures. The proposed Phase I program examines the applicability of a novel low- temperature, catalytic conversion recycling process for composite aircraft components. This process has been shown to work with complex mixtures such as tires and circuit boards. All polymeric materials (composite matrices, adhesives, paints, coatings) are converted to a valuable mixture of low molecular weight hydrocarbons and removed from the fibers, metals, and pigments that can then be reclaimed for reuse.
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