Vartega shows positive results of recycled carbon fiber testing

Posted by: Jeff Sloan on CompositesWorld.com 10 August 2016

Vartega Carbon Fiber Recycling LLC (Denver, Colo.) reports that it has collaborated with Steelhead Composites (Golden, Colo.) and SGL Carbon SE (Evanston, Wyo.) to evaluate the tensile strength of carbon fiber recycled by Vartega. Steelhead Composites provided Vartega several rolls of expired towpreg (T700, 12k tow) manufactured by TCR Composites Inc. (Ogden, Utah) for recycling testing. Vartega processed two samples and sent them along with two control samples to SGL for tensile testing according to ASTM D4018.

The results show that the tow material recycled by Vartega has comparable mechanical properties to the virgin control that was tested. Both the control sample and the recycled sample exhibit measured properties consistent with manufacturer’s data. Both samples have favorable tensile strength and minimal measured modulus impacts. In this small sample size, the recycled fiber exhibits properties that are slightly better than the control sample. 

Vartega also reports that Janicki Industries (Sedro-Woolley, Wash.) has provided a letter of support to Vartega in regards to Vartega's efforts to commercialize its solvolysis recycling technology.

Per the letter, Vartega has committed to provide Janicki with recycled carbon fiber for evaluation in limited cycle mold masters and backup structures. Janicki plans to use this fiber to process test panels via infusion and evaluate its properties for permeability, thermal expansion, dimensional stability, and machinability.

“The composites industry is faced with a growing waste issue that companies such as ours are eager to address... Janicki is excited to see the research being done by Vartega, and others, to repurpose and recycle this scrap material for second life applications, and reduce the carbon footprint associated with carbon fiber manufacturing," says Andy Bridge, vice president industrial markets, Janicki Industries.

“We’re looking forward to working with Janicki to demonstrate the capabilities of recycled carbon fiber in real-world applications," says Andrew Maxey, president of Vartega Carbon Fiber Recycling. "Aside from its obvious uses in cars and planes, recycled carbon fiber has the potential to significantly reduce the economic and environmental cost of composite tooling.”