First-ever automotive seatback using recycled carbon fiber

The Composite Recycling Technology Center, ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. and IACMI partnered on this project.

The Composite Recycling Technology Center and ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. of the UK showcased the manufacture of an automotive seatback made from recycled carbon fiber
composite, at the Automotive Lightweight Materials Summit (Detroit, Mich., Aug. 22-24, 2017). The tooling was supplied in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI, Knoxville, Tenn).

The goal of the project was to demonstrate manufacturability of the materials, to test flow and compaction into the various features, and to provide samples for non-destructive and destructive testing.

“This is a very exciting project and I am very proud of the entire team who worked hard to turn this seat from a vision into reality,” said David Walter, CRTC CEO. “The close collaboration with the team from IACMI and ELG made this project a big success.”

The bucket-style seatback is approximately 24-inches high and 19-inches wide, with side flanges of nearly 5-inches at their deepest. It utilized 1.3 kg of ELG’s Carbiso TM PA6 60% SM45D. The recycled fiber/nylon 6 resin was molded at CRTC in a hot compression cycle at 435 F, using their Wabash/MPI 300-ton hot-platen press. The seatback was molded in IACMI’s aluminum tool that was previously developed for a pre-production prototype evaluation project.

Under a new contract with IACMI, the CRTC will wor to automate the processing of this scrap and remanufacture it into new consumer products. This companies say that this technology breakthrough is essential so carbon fiber scrap can be processed in high volumes, fulfilling the enormous potential for energy savings and carbon reduction and creating a global composites recycling industry.