REPAIR 3D: Recycling and Repurposing of Plastic Waste for Advanced 3D Printing Applications
The Repair 3D project (2019-2022), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, aims to develop innovative methods for the recovery and reuse of carbon fibres from carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRPs) as well as the recycling of thermoplastic waste. These compounds will be used in the development of new recyclable CFRPs for high value-added products with advanced functionalities (self-sensing, self-healing and recycling) by combining nanotechnology and additive manufacturing technologies.
The use of plastics has increased twenty-fold in the past half-century, and their linear, take-make-dispose value chains impose significant economic and environmental drawbacks. Pollution, landfills and CO2 emission are major environmental issues, thus the need for development of green technologies, recycling of materials and efficient use of land, are becoming more and more important, with EU adopting directives to promote them.
However, nowadays, the presence of a great variety of complex structures, contaminants derived from an inadequate waste management and limitations in the current recycling technologies make the recovery and recycling of waste very difficult.
Summary and objectives
The Repair3D project aims to address all aspects and stages of the development of carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic materials (CFRPs) through additive manufacturing (AM) from recycled resources, starting with the selection of suitable waste streams, material repair strategies, compatibility and upcycling for different additive manufacturing processing technologies. The circular use (recycling) of materials across multiple manufacturing and recycling cycles will also be demonstrated and optimised, facilitating the creation of new pathways for recycling carbon fibre reinforced composite polymers (CFRPs).
The strategic goal will be realised through the following specific objectives:
- Recycling and upcycling of selected thermoplastic waste streams and reclamation of CFs from CFRPs.
- Development of sustainable CFRPs by additive manufacturing from recycled resources with design-for-recycling, smart-by-design and advanced functionalities.
- Demonstration of the circular use of the composites developed through separation and reprocessing of AM (advance manufacturing) printed products
A consortium of 18 partners from 6 European countries, including 8 RTOs and 10 industrial groups, has been set up to reach the objectives abovementioned:
- WARRANT HUB SPA (Italy)
- NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS (Greece)
- UNIVERSITEIT GENT (Belgium)
- FUNDACIÓ EURECAT (Spain)
- ITENE – INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO DEL EMBALAJE, TRANSPORTE Y LOGISTICA (Spain)
- ASOCIACIÓN ACONDICIONAMIENTO TARRASENSE (Spain)
- INSTITUT DE RECHERCHE TECHNOLOGIQUE JULES VERNE (France)
- SIGMATEX UK LIMITED (United Kingdom)
- ADAMANT AERODIASTIMIKES EFARMOGES ETAIREIA PERIORISMENIS EFTHYNIS (Greece)
- CAMBRIDGE NANOMATERIALS TECHNOLOGY LTD (United Kingdom)
- TECHEDGE SPA (Italy)
- CALZATURIFICIO DAL BELLO SRL (Italy)
- CENTRE SCIENTIFIQUE & TECHNIQUE DE L’INDUSTRIE TEXTILE BELGE (Belgium)
- MAIER SCOOP (Spain)
- BIOG3D NEES TEXNOLOGIES 3D DESPOINA BRASINIKA IKE (Greece)
- INNOVATION IN RESEARCH & ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS (Belgium)
- YIOTIS ANONIMOS EMPORIKI & VIOMIXANIKI ETAIREIA (Greece)
- ETAIREIA AXIOPOIISEOS KAI DIACHEIRISEOS TIS PERIOUSIAS TOU ETHNIKOU METSOVIOU POLYTECHNEIOU (Greece)
ITENE´s role in Repair 3D
The Repair 3D project is organized in 9 work packages (WP), and ITENE is mainly involved in the following work-packages and tasks:
WP1: Recycling, repair and upgrade of materials from plastic waste streams:
– Selection of plastic waste and optimization of the shredding process.
– Evaluation and upcycling of each plastic waste fraction to meet the requirements of CFRP matrix materials for additive manufacturing processes.
– Characterization of the different fractions.
WP3: Recycled materials processing with selected AM technologies:
– Evaluation of the mechanical properties of the different materials produced by additive manufacturing.
WP5: Second phase of separation/processing of AM produced parts:
– Demonstration of the circular use of composite materials by the separation, shredding and reprocessing of parts produced by additive manufacturing
WP6: Life cycle assessment and cost evaluation
– Life cycle analysis of the different processes and products of the project.
– Evaluation of exposure and release of particles, including toxicological tests.
In addition, ITENE will contribute in terms of dissemination and transfer of exploitation knowledge and data and risk management within WP7- Exploitation, dissemination and communication activities and WP8- Project management.
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The project has developed and validated different demonstrators based on recycled material reinforced with carbon fibre for automotive applications, medical prosthesis, ski boots or textile wearables.
Specifically, ITENE has improved the performance of plastic waste from different industrial sectors for advanced 3D printing applications.
In addition, it has evaluated the circularity of the composite materials used in the demonstrators to maximise the number of recycling cycles they can withstand while maintaining their properties.
It has also analysed the exposure and release of nanoparticles from the different processes of the project, including toxicological tests according to REACH regulations to monitor and minimise the potential exposure risks for workers.