Affordable Recycled Carbon Fibres (AFRECAR)

Lead Participant: University of Nottingham


The AFRECAR (Affordable Recycled Carbon Fibres) project builds upon earlier research led by the university of Nottingham in the area of carbon fibre recyling. The most recent project was HIRECAR in which composite moulding compounds were developed using recycled carbon fibre for application in the automotive industry.
There are now emerging commercial processes for recycling the carbon fibre from a composite but there are two problems that need solving: How to process the recycled carbon fibre to produce new products that can give the very best structural properties and:How to improve on the existing recycling processes to recover useful products from the polymer resin used to bond the carbon fibres together in the composite?
The AFRECAR aims to focus on these two questions by developing high grade structual composite materials based on recycled carbon fibre for both the aerospace and automotive industries. It has two prime objectives: To develop low-cost, high-strength composite materials based on recycled carbon fibre with higher fibre content than has been previously achieved. These can be used as lightweight structural reinforcement in the aerospace and motor industries in non-critical applications such as seats, overhead lockers and other interior features on aircraft and body panels in cars.
To develop and demonstrate, at larger scale, the use of supercritical fluid processing to produce high grade recycled carbon fibre and also to recover valuable chemicals from the polymer resin.
The £900,000 project is funded by the Technology Strategy board. It is led by the University of Nottingham and the other partners are the aircraft makers Boeing, the Ford Motor Company, composite materials supplier advanced composites group, fibre processing company technical fibre products, carbon fibre manufacturer toho tenax, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas and Milled Carbon, a company leading the way in carbon fibre recycling.


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