To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, a groundbreaking project sees the launch of an alliance of international federations, leading sports manufacturers, composites specialists and academics working together to support a demonstration project aimed at reuse and realign carbon fibers.
The Circular Carbon Fiber Demonstration Project is run by the World Sailing Trust, World Sailing’s affiliate charity, under its Planet key focus area, ensuring sailing has a lasting positive impact and waters of the planet are protected and safeguarded.
Supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), multi-sport collaboration has been a key driver of this project – both between International Federations and sports equipment manufacturers to engage with end-users of equipment.
Working with World Sailing and the International Biathlon Union, backed by Wilson Sporting Goods, the alliance includes the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) as well as sports equipment manufacturers Starboard, SCOTT Sports and OneWay, which are collaborating to support an innovative and disruptive program based on the reuse of carbon components within the sports sector.
The alliance is working with Technical Lead Lineat Composites with the help of the University of Bristol Research Department based at the National Composite Center in Bristol, on a demonstration project to show how it is possible to salvage broken carbon components / defaulters in a particular sport. industry through a new recovery process that realigns fibers into unidirectional prepreg strips using the innovative HiPerDiF process system.
New engineered carbon strips will then be supplied to component manufacturers within the alliance to be incorporated into new engineered components for reuse. A typical example would take a broken carbon bicycle component and use the fibers to make new bands and use them in a second life in a carbon ski pole, sailing component or tennis racket.
Carbon fiber is a high performance material used in a variety of industries. The weight and strength properties have made the material widely used in sports equipment, especially in elite level competition. Use of the material is growing and sports represent the third largest user of the material behind aerospace and the wind industry.
However, carbon fiber cannot be remelted and recycled like aluminum and, to date, no sustainable end-of-life solution has been available for carbon fiber.
The project envisions taking the broken component, realigning its fibers, and then reusing that carbon fiber to make a new component. The process, which is no different from a high-tech papermaking process, produces a carbon fiber ribbon which, according to initial results from this demonstration project, is in some cases better than carbon fiber. original blank.
The manual R&D machine based at the National Composite Center allows Lineat Composites and the University of Bristol research team to manually align the carbon fibers, but the machine in the next stage of the process will allow Lineat to market and align approximately 80 billion fibers per day. , which, once placed online, will circumnavigate the globe three times.
“Collaboration and alliance have been a key driver in this project,” said Dee Caffari, Chairman of the World Sailing Trust. “We know that sport in general uses carbon fiber very heavily, especially in high-end performance sports.
“However, the use of carbon fire in some other industries is even more important. This demonstration project was a first step and we now want to invite other sports and industries to develop the next step in this process.
Source: World Sailing Trust