Recycled carbon fiber used to manufacture composite overwrapped pressure vessel

The companies claim this collaboration marks the first time that waste continuous tow carbon fiber towpreg has been reclaimed, recycled and put back into the original manufacturing process.

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As first report in CW’s SAMPE 2017 coverage, Steelhead Composites (Denver, Colo.), Vartega (Denver, Colo.), and Michelman (Cincinnati, Ohio), all members of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI, Knoxville, Tenn.), collaborated to develop a composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) manufactured from continuous recycled carbon fiber. The achievement marks the first time that waste continuous tow carbon fiber towpreg has been reclaimed, recycled and put back into the original manufacturing process. 

The fiber was recycled using Vartega Inc.’s patent pending recycling process, sized with Michelman’s Hydrosize EP876 fiber sizing, and fabricated by Steelhead Composites. Until this milestone, recycled carbon fiber had been relegated to secondary products or as chopped fiber or filler.