Automotive brackets made from recycled carbon fibre will be displayed by NetComposites at Composites Europe 2011. The parts have been developed using a new generation of high performance, low cost co-mingled carbon fibre yarns that were the outcome of the recently concluded multi-partner project, Fibrecycle. The yarns and fabrics are blended carbon/PET, manufactured from virgin recovered carbon fibre that would otherwise have gone to landfill and that these new materials have almost 100% of the stiffness of virgin materials. They can be offered at a lower cost than similar products currently available on the market. They say they are also beneficial to the environment and retain the traceability of virgin materials.
Fibrecycle, which completed in August, was a UK funded research project composed of six partners: Advanced Composites Group Ltd (ACG), part of Umeco Composites Structural Materials (UCSM) – a Division of Umeco plc, Tilsatec, Sigmatex, Exel Composites UK, NetComposites and the University of Leeds. The project produced yarns, sliver and tape, together with both woven and non-crimp fabrics. Composite laminates have been press-moulded, showing that the carbon/PET (50:50 weight ratio) composites offer at least 50% of the tensile strength and 90% of the tensile modulus of an equivalent composite based on virgin fibres.
As worldwide carbon fibre composite usage grows, there is concern about the potential tonnage of waste from manufacturing processes and end-of-life products. The waste related to carbon fibre products will quickly reach a significant level to become an important environmental issue, so there is a strong interest in developing processes for recovering and recycling carbon fibre from waste materials. NetComposites have created Visteon automotive brackets using the non-crimp fabric with PET which significantly reduces the weight of the brackets which were traditionally made out of metals. These brackets are undergoing various mechanical tests. Mohammed Riaz, NetComposites Development Engineer said "The new materials are ideal for the automotive industry. They offer great strength and are lightweight meaning they are ideal for non-critical load parts".