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Composites

One-minute repair of composites damage

Recycling process demonstrated the reclaim of continuous fibres with more than 80% of their original flexural strength.

17th May 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Lausanne, Switzerland

Transport/​Aerospace, Industrial

Lausanne, Switzerland-based CompPair Technologies has teamed up with French sports brand Decathlon SAS for a joint proof-of-concept project for HealTech – a new prepreg (fabric preimpregnated with resin) enabling the production of composite structures that can heal damage on-site in just one minute and be recycled more efficiently.

The goal was to close HealTech’s recycling loop on a three-dimensional monolithic product, representative of many sporting goods and relevant to the activities of both companies.

A bicycle shoe sole was produced with virgin HealTech glass prepregs, recycling the fabric ply by ply and producing the same sole with 87% of recycled pre-cut fibres.

Through the work, CompPair’s recycling process demonstrated the reclaim of continuous fibres with more than 80% of their original flexural strength (a measure of the part’s mechanical properties, following ASTM standards), compared to only 32% with microwave pyrolysis. In addition, a life cycle analysis showed the benefits of shifting from a conventional incineration disposal method to a recycling one, potentially reducing mineral resource use by 72% and CO2 emissions by 13%. The impacts were evaluated for a functional unit of 1kg of glass fibre-reinforced healable CompPair composite, considering raw materials, production, transports, repairs and end-of-life.

Scenarios were modelled based on the ecoinvent 3.7 database and the results calculated with the Impact World+ method in version 9.2 of the SimaPro software. CompPair and Decathlon are now seeking industrial partners to refine the recycling channels and upscale the recycling process.

www.comppair.ch

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