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The economic and mechanical potential of closed loop material usage and recycling of fibre-reinforced composite materials
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Lightweight Structures. (Lightweight Structures)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6729-8604
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Lightweight Structures.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6616-2964
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a novel recyclate value model derived from the retained mechanical performance of retrieved fibres in fibre-reinforced composites. The proposed recyclate value model was used to perform an economic analysis for establishing the future closed-loop material usage of fibre-reinforced composite materials. State-of-the-art recycling of carbon and glass-reinforced thermosets was adopted and resulted in a proposed recycling hierarchy in order to achieve a more sustainable environment and raw material cost reduction. The recyclate value model showed that approximately 50% material cost reductions can be achieved at comparable mechanical performance by using recycled fibre instead of virgin fibre in appropriate applications. From the aspect of lightweight design this cost reduction provides the designer with new material choices, appropriate for lower cost and diverse stiffness designs. The proposed closed-loop hierarchy documents the importance of further improvement of fibrous material recycling, including sorting according to mechanical performance, in order to identify application areas previously not utilised and to maximise material sustainability and value throughout the material's lifetime.

Keywords [en]
recycled carbon fibres; recycled glass fibres; circular economy; economy
National Category
Composite Science and Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-244383OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-244383DiVA, id: diva2:1290198
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Note

QC 20190220

Available from: 2019-02-20 Created: 2019-02-20 Last updated: 2019-02-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Technical cost modelling and efficient design of lightweight composites in structural applications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technical cost modelling and efficient design of lightweight composites in structural applications
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A lightweight transport design reduces fuel costs and emissions and can be achieved through the use of fibre-reinforced composite materials. Although lightweight, the composite raw material can be expensive and the sequential component production challenging and costly. To design weight- and cost-efficient composite structures and find ways to reduce production costs, technical cost modelling must be applied. In this thesis, a technical cost model for composite manufacture, assembly and basic inspection is proposed and implemented to identify cost drivers, evaluate trending design strategies and suggest appropriate composite design guidelines for transport and aeronautical applications. 

Among identified cost drivers, material costs dominates at 50-90 % of the total part cost also for low annual volumes. Tooling costs are second in importance for slow processes and large parts while the importance of investment and labour depends on degree of automation. Part integration is shown to only marginally reduce cost. Traditional composite assembly is in turn found to potentially reduce costs by 30 % through the elimination of non-value-adding processes such as shimming and part positioning. In comparison to part integration, sandwich design exhibits superior cost- and weight-efficiency for low-to-intermediate stiffness levels. Moreover, the industry impact of a sustainable, circular recycling flow of composite materials is estimated and shown to give up to halved raw material costs as well as cost returns also for virgin carbon fibre users. Low-cost fibres such as glass, lignin-based carbon, hemp and recycled carbon fibres are found to be highly cost-competitive also for structural adaptions.

The technical cost model, method and results presented in this thesis provide important composite design conclusions and a foundation for further modelling work needed to reach that elusive weight- and cost-optimal composite design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2019. p. 62
Series
TRITA-SCI-FOU ; 2019:9
Keywords
Technical cost modelling; composite materials; carbon fibre; lightweight design; optimization
National Category
Vehicle Engineering Composite Science and Engineering
Research subject
Vehicle and Maritime Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-244386 (URN)978-91-7873-104-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-03-14, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 314003XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Note

QC 20190220

Available from: 2019-02-20 Created: 2019-02-20 Last updated: 2019-02-20Bibliographically approved

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Karlsson Hagnell, MathildaÅkermo, Malin

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