Carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPC) play a key role in many industries with lightweight construction requirements. This applies primarily to aviation and automotive technology, but increasingly also to the leisure and sports sector. In addition to pure lightweight construction and the well-known economic challenges, ecological lightweight construction with the demands for sustainable solutions and recyclable materials has increasingly come into focus over the last few years. This goal can only be achieved for carbon fiber reinforced polymer components (CFRPC) by consistently pursuing a holistic circular economy. Therefore, in the „NeuRecA” joint project, targeted material development for reuse in new CFRPC applications is taking place both for carbon fiber production waste (off-cuts from CF textiles and residual coils) as well as for recycled and processed carbon fibers obtained from the pyrolysis of end-of-life (EoL) components. This can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of carbon fiber reinforced components and further increase the attractiveness of the material. Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) is used for the production and processing of semi-finished products, as it allows a high degree of design freedom combined with economical and efficient manufacturing processes. In combination with an appropriate epoxy resin, SMC semi-finished products based on recycled carbon fibers can be therefore developed and used in structural areas that are subject to high thermal loads.
In the joint project "NeuRecA", novel and innovative SMC formulations based on recycled carbon fibers and epoxy resins will be developed for use in structural areas for high-temperature applications. This represents a first important milestone towards sustainable CFRP composites.
The project “NeuRecA - Material and process development for novel SMC semi-finished products based on recycled carbon fibers for structural high-temperature applications” is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag (funding reference KK5003707EB1).