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Materials (Basel) ; 11(3)2018 Feb 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29495571


An innovative recycling process for thermoset polymer composites developed by Connora Technologies (Hayward, CA, USA) was studied. The process efficacy has already been tested, and it is currently working at the plant level. The main aspect investigated in the present paper was the environmental impact by means of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method. Because of the need to recycle and recover materials at their end of life, the Connora process creates a great innovation in the market of epoxy composites, as they are notoriously not recyclable. Connora Technologies developed a relatively gentle chemical recycling process that induces the conversion of thermosets into thermoplastics. The LCA demonstrated that low environmental burdens are associated with the process itself and, furthermore, impacts are avoided due to the recovery of the epoxy-composite constituents (fibres and matrix). A carbon fibre (CF) epoxy-composite panel was produced through Vacuum Resin Transfer Moulding (VRTM) and afterwards treated using the Connora recycling process. The LCA results of both the production and the recycling phases are reported.