The Ability to Recycle Carbon Composites is Paramount to Our Future

In Europe, they have the end of life program for all of their vehicles. That is to say when you buy a car you have to put down a deposit, which is added into the price of the car, the money is to pay for its end-of-life experience, so it can be broken down and recycled. The money that you paid extra when you bought the car is then given to the recycler who receives the car, from that rotating fund. In the future we will be challenged with the problematic situation that the cars will have more foam, and carbon composites which make them up.

Recycling foam which is behind the dashboard and in other parts of the car is rather tough. Just as recycling tires with steel belts inside is tough because it's hard to separate the steel from inside the rubber in order to recycle both. Carbon composites by their very name, are composite structures, and before you can recycle them, you need to pull them apart. Multiple types of composites with carbon sheets are difficult to repurpose and recycle.

Then there is the issue with aircraft, and more & more aircraft these days are being built with carbon composite components. This makes the aircraft lighter so they get better fuel economy, but what do you do with the aircraft carbon component parts once the aircraft has reached its useful life. Just as metal fatigues, carbon goes through stresses, and it doesn't last forever. Anyone who has a high-speed carbon composite framed bicycle knows this.

Net Composites posted on June 27, 2011 titled "GKN Aerospace to Recycle Carbon Waste" which stated that the purpose of the project is;

"To balance the performance and environmental gains achieved through using composites in aircraft operations it is vital the industry progresses towards greener manufacture on a number of fronts and we believe an effective recycling process is at the heart of that progression. Until now, the only solutions for disposing of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) waste have been landfill or incineration, both of which are harmful to the environment."

This is absolutely wonderful news. It is something the United States needs to do more of. Because if these carbon constructed materials are our future, we need to be able to break them down, and make them into something else. That only makes sense. In the future, especially after the Obama Administration unilaterally decided that every car needs to get 52.5 miles per gallon on average, automobiles will be made of these carbon sheets.

If we start making all of our automobiles out of these types of materials, we have to be able to do something with those car bodies, frames, and other carbon component pieces when they end their useful life. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 23,850 articles by July 4, 2011 is going to be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..

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