Thanks, Rob. The source is a mix, since they are carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Generally speaking, one could divide plastics into two different classes depending on their end apps' usage characteristics and how strong, tough and durable the materials must be: consumer goods, water bottles, packaging, etc., such as PET, vs what are called durables. Engineering-grade plastics are a subset of durables and CFRPs are durables.
Good question, Beth. Part of the timing has to do with me--I'm finding and noticing these announcements because I'm interested in them (and new to this beat).
But it looks like at least some of these trends were already in progress when I ran across the information. For example, the recycled bridge materials have been around for awhile, and I recently came across another vendor doing something similar to Axion's product. OTOH, recycling carbon fiber reinforced composites is pretty new. As to macro-trends, research has been going on for some time on recycling of plastics in general, and I think it's just taken as long as it's taken for the technologies to mature and able to deliver some results.
Nice article, Ann. In recycling the carbon fibers, what products are they coming from? Are they from industrial products or consumer products? You mentioned that the volume of nonbiodegradable carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics is growing. Does this include products such as plastic water bottles?
Ann: It seems a lot of your recent posts have focused on pretty significant advances in the manufacturing and development of recycled materials, particularly on the composite front. I definitely applaud the effort and I'm wondering, is there any sort of macro trend driving this flurry of activity--a why now moment, perhaps?
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