An energy efficient production technology for the recycling of thermoplastic tape into a new semi-finished product for further use
To use fibre reinforced plastics in a sustainable and economic way recycling processes have to be an integral part of the product life cycle. Existing recycling processes for composite materials, however, have low energy efficiency, do not consider fibre orientations or use environmentally harming chemicals. In this study, a solution is developed for the recycling of fibre reinforced thermoplastic tape material in the form of tape offcuts, which accrue in production processes. This new process produces recycled tape material, so called "rTape", for further use. In the study, application scenarios for the rTape are defined and a structure for the tape is developed to fulfil these requirements. The main focus of the development process is to realise an energy efficient process by minimizing the separation of fibres and matrix material as this bond can be used further in the recycled product. The rTape uses non-continuous fibres in the tape and a defined fibre orientation for good material properties. Material tests show that tensile strength values of rTape tested in this study has the potential to be in a range up to 76 % compared to new, unrecycled tape. The results of the study are a basis for further development of the proposed recycling process and an automated system to produce such rTape.