CFRP-recycling following a pyrolysis route : process optimization and potentials
Pyrolysis is a well known method to recover carbon fibers from composite waste. In order to bring these recycled carbon fibers back into new composites, and to provide a `closed loop' for this material, their properties have to be investigated and proved suitable for new products. In a former study a strong influence of the pyrolysis process on the surface of the recovered fibers was found. This in turn influenced other properties like fiber strength, electrical properties and fiber-matrixadhesion. These results offer the possibility to control individual properties of recycled carbon fibers and their composites, but on the other hand they indicate a necessity for process optimization in order to provide a high quality of the recycled fibers. In this study different process parameters during pyrolysis were investigated and optimized in order to provide the reclaimed carbon fibers with properties close to new fibers. The optimization was done by labscale pyrolysis experiments performed in a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA), with variation of pyrolysis temperature, isothermal dwell time and oven atmosphere, respectively. The recovered fibers were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Finally a pyrolysis test on a semi-industrial-scale was successfully performed to demonstrate the technical viability of the optimized process parameters.