End-of-life recycling options for glass fibre reinforced polymers

Shannon Hall


This report covers the possible recycling options for end-of-life glass fibre reinforced polymers. Two forms (jigsaw and diamond bladed wet saw) of composite size reduction were compared to determine the most viable option. It was determined that the use of a jigsaw is essential due to its portability and low cost; being ≈36% less than the cost of the wet saw. Incineration with fibre recovery was performed at six different temperatures to determine which was the best to achieve complete resin decomposition. It was found that the most effective temperature, in terms of cost, burn-off time and effectiveness was 500°C. Incineration with energy recovery tests were performed using the bomb calorimeter. It was determined that the recoverable energy was 7MJ/kg. These two tests were conducted in order to determine the most feasible option for dealing with end-of-life waste composites. It was concluded that the most feasible option was incineration with energy recovery. This is due to its potential in aiding the process of cement production. The matrix has potential to be used as a fuel due to its high calorific content and the reinforcement could be integrated into the cement itself.

Full Text:



Alibaba. (2016) Calcium Carbonate Filler for Plastic. Available at: http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Calcium-carbonate-filler-for plastic_1949572103.html?spm=a2700.7724857.29.12.Qnu4o4&s=p/

[Accessed on: 29 April 2016].

AZO Materials. (2016). E-Glass Fibre. Available at: http://www.azom.com/properties.aspx?ArticleID=764

[Accessed on: 03 May 2016]

Byrom, S. (2016). Gas & Electricity Tariff Prices per Unit. Available at: https://www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/tariffs-per-unit-kwh

[Accessed on: 2 February 2016].

Cembureau. (2014). Activity Report 2014, Brussels: Cembureau.

Conroy, A., Halliwell, S. and Reynolds, T. (2006). 'Composite Recycling in the Construction Industry'. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, pp. 1216-1222

Courtaulds Limited (1980). 1.0 Fibre Properties: Filament Tensile Strength and Modulus. Coventry: Grafil Test Methods.

[Accessed on: 01 May 2016]

Dawson, D. (2015). Yachtbuilding Composites: Rigged for Success.

Available at: http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/yachtbuilding-composites-rigged-for-success

[Accessed on: 17 November 2015].

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), (2011). Guidance on applying the Waste Hierarchy. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69403/pb13530-waste-hierarchy-guidance.pdf

[Accessed on: 27 November 2015].

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), (2014). Waste legislation and regulations. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waste-legislation-and-regulations#eu-waste-framework-directive

[Accessed on: 27 November 2015].

DK Holdings Ltd, (2012). Continuous Rim Saws. Available at: http://www.dk-holdings.co.uk/comp/rimsaws.html

[Accessed on: 03 May 2016].

easycomposites, (2015). Perma-Grit Bosch/Makita Jigsaw Blade.

Available at: http://www.easycomposites.co.uk/#!/tools-equipment-and-supplies/perma-grit-tools/bosch-jigsaw-blade.html

[Accessed on: 26 April 2016].

Entrust, (2013). About the Landfill Communities Fund.

Available at: http://www.entrust.org.uk/landfill-community-fund

[Accessed on: 28 November 2015].

EuCIA, n.d. Composites Recycling Made Easy, s.l.: s.n.

Frollini, E., Silva, C. G., Ramires, E. C. (2013). Phenolic resins as matrix material in fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. In: J. Bai, ed. Advanced fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite for structural applications. Sao Paulo: Woodhead Publishing, pp. 7-43.

García, D., Vegas, I., Cacho, I. (2014) 'Mechanical Recycling Of GFRP Waste as Short-Fiber Reinforcements in Microconcrete'. Construction and Building Materials, Volume 64, pp. 293-300.

Halliwell, D. S., (2006). End of Life Options for Composite Waste, s.l.: National Composites Network.

Jacobs, A. (2011). ‘Composites Can be Recycled’. Reinforced Plastics.

Jenkins, P.G., Yang, L., Liggat, J.J., Thomason, J.L. (2015). ‘Investigation of the strength loss of glass fibre after thermal’. Journal of Material Science, pp. 1050-1057.

Job, S. (2010). Composite Recycleing.

Available at: https://compositesuk.co.uk/system/files/documents/Composite%20Recycling%20-%20Summary%20of%20recent%20research%20and%20development%20-%20September%202010.pdf

[Accessed on: 18 November 2015].

Job, S. (2013). Recycling glass fibre reinforced composites – history and progress (Part 1).

Available at: http://www.materialstoday.com/carbon-fiber/features/recycling-glass-fibre-reinforced-composites/

[Accessed on: 21 November 2015].

Kosar, V., (2010). 'Crosslinking of unsaturated polyester resin in the mould: Modelling and heat transfer studies' Applied Mathematical Modelling, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp. 1586-1596.

Mai, T., (2015). Technology Readiness Level.

Available at: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/scan/engineering/technology/txt_accordion1.html

[Accessed on: 06 May 2016].

Marsh, G. (2013). ‘End-of-life boat disposal – a looming issue for the composites industry’.

Available at: http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-applications/features/end-of-life-boat-disposal-a-looming-issue-for-the/

[Accessed on: 22 November 2015].

Murphy, J. (1998). ‘The Reinforced Plastics Handbook’. 2nd ed. Oxford: Elsevier.

Otheguy, M.E., Gibson, A.G., Robinson, M., Findon, E., Cripps, B., Ochoa Mendoza, A., Aguinaco Castro, M.T. (2009). ‘Recycling of End-of-Life Thermoplastic Composite’ Boats. Plastics, Rubber and Composites, pp. 406-411.

Palmer, J., O.R. Ghita., L. Savage., K.E. Evans. (2009). ‘Successful closed-loop recycling of thermoset composites’. Composite: Part A 40, pp. 490-498.

PDX, Scrap. (2015). ‘What is Creative Reuse’.

Available at: http://scrappdx.org/about/what-is-creative-reuse/

[Accessed on: 26 November 2015].

Pickering, S., (2006). ‘Recycling technologies for thermoset composite materials - current status.’ Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing 37. Elsevier

Pickering, S., (2011). Recycling Thermoset Composites.

Available at: http://www.jeccomposites.com/news/composites-news/recycling-thermoset-composites

[Accessed on: 29 April 2016].

Reynolds, N., Pharaoh, M. (2010). ‘An Introdcution to Composite Recycling’. Management, recycling and reuseof waste composites. Warwick: Woodhead publishing, pp. 3-19.

Sigma-Aldrich, (2016). Calcium Carbonate.

Available at: http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/search?term=calcium+carbonate&interface=All&N=0&mode=match%20partialmax〈=en&region=GB&focus=product

[Accessed on: 26 April 2016].

Skandiaweb, (2009). Composite Waste. [Online]

Available at: http://www.compositeswaste.eu/the-project

[Accessed on: 19 November 2015].

Song, Y. S., Youn, J. R., Gutowski, T. G., (2009). Life Cycle Energy Analysis of Fiber-Reinforced Composites. In: M. W. a. C. Hochard, ed. Composite Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing. s.l.:Elsevier, pp. 1257-1265.

South West Water, (2016). Charges Scheme 2016-2017, Exeter: South West Water.

Stewart, R. (2010). ‘Legislation for recycling waste composites’. Management, recycling and reuse of waste composites. Warwick: Woodhead, pp. 20-38.

Summerscales, J (2015). 'What shall we do with the End-of-Life vessel?' [PowerPoint Presentation]. MATS232: Disposal of marine composites at end-of-life. Available at: https://www.fose1.plymouth.ac.uk/sme/mats232/

[Accessed on: 03 May 2016]

Summerscales, J., Singh, M.M. and Wittamore, K., (2016). ‘Disposal of Composite Boats and other Marine Composites.’ Management, Recycling and reuse of Waste Composites. Woodhead Publishing.

Witten, E., (2015). Composites Market Report 2015, s.l.: Industrievereinigung Verstarkte Kunststoffe - Federation of Reinforced Plastics.

Yang, Y., Boom, R., Irion, B., van Heerden, D.-J., Kuiper, P., de Wit, H. (2011). ‘Recycling of composite materials’. Chemical Engineering and Processing 51. Elsevier, pp. 53-68


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

ISSN 1754-2383 [Online] ©University of Plymouth