21 Avril – Thesis defense - Yang Shi

09 h I2M (site IUT Bordeaux - Gradignan)

Circular economy for carbon fiber composites: from aerospace waste to recycled carbon + thermoplastic composites.

Since their industrialization, the production of carbon fiber composites is continuously increasing. When recycling carbon fiber composites, only the fibers are recycled. The matrix is "removed" by pyrolysis, solvolysis or vapour-thermolysis, processes that cause little degradation of the fibres. In order to create a demand for recycled carbon fibers, it is necessary to add value to recycled fibers by demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing high quality composite parts (recycled fiber + matrix).

Semi-long recycled fiber architectures with very good alignment were produced by the laboratory's patented realignment technology that ensures optimal exploitation of recycled carbon fiber properties. In order to control and optimize the properties of the new composite (staple fiber), the mechanisms of load transfer between fibers were studied, and the useful properties of the matrix were identified. Particular attention has been paid to the calculation of the load transfer length between two staple fibers as a function of the properties of the recycled fiber/thermoplastic matrix interface. Indeed, our objective is not only to find optimal solutions in terms of strength but also solutions that allow to limit the environmental impact, hence our choice of thermoplastic matrices (including recycled) for this study.

All the results of the numerical simulations were validated by comparison with experimental results. In addition, recycled carbon fiber/thermoplastic matrix composites (PA6 and PC) were implemented and tested. These materials have fiber contents higher than 50% and offer better mechanical properties than the same materials with epoxy matrix.

An environmental analysis was performed on the example of a portable wind turbine blade by comparing the impacts of the raw material, manufacturing and end of life of a part made with different materials (light alloy, glass fiber composite, recycled fiber composites). This demonstrates the interest of recycled carbon fibers associated with a recycled thermoplastic matrix, to minimize the environmental impact while maximizing mechanical performance.

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