Materials used for aircraft structures are chosen very carefully with a lot of consideration towards high strength and lightweight properties. Traditionally, metal alloys have been the favourite choice for manufacturers. But aircraft materials have undergone a paradigm shift over the years from wooden structures to composite materials. Epoxy-based composites are widely used in aircraft structures and they are difficult to recycle as thermoset resins are cross-linking, become rigid upon heating and cannot be remolded. As more than fifty percent of aircraft structure, by weight, being composed of composite materials these days, there will be a lot of waste generated when such aircraft reach their end-of-life. This calls for a sustainable approach towards waste management and a move towards recycling. This is a comprehensive study of recycling of composites like Glass Fibre Epoxy and Carbon Fibre Epoxy, the most used composite in aircraft structures. Glass Fiber Epoxy composite can be used in construction applications after processing through mechanical recycling. This investigation throws light on what kind of value-added products can be made from recycling of such composites. Carbon Fibre is an ideal reinforcement material used in aircraft composites and hence its proper reclamation and recycling are also of paramount importance. Thus, the recycling methodology to be followed for Carbon Fibre Epoxy composites, which are placed higher on the economic spectrum, is also discussed.
R. Thamizh Selvan, P. C. Vishakh Raja, Pradyumna Mangal, Navami Mohan, and Shantanu Bhowmik, “Recycling technology of epoxy glass fiber and epoxy carbon fiber composites used in aerospace vehicles”, Journal of Composite MaterialsJournal of Composite Materials, p. 00219983211011532, 2021.