Composite materials find their greatest potential in applications where weight reduction is required without compromising rigidity and resistance of the material. Despite the high performance of these materials, their sustainability is still a major concern.
When dealing with composite materials, and the issues of wastes in the manufacturing process, we need to think in perspective of the impact of the wastes within the process on the end products overall volumes.
Still, issues are raised on their sustainability, and heavy research efforts are spent for the recycling of composites, through the thermal route (pyrolysis) and the chemical route (solvolysis).
A new approach to reach the sustainability target within the ZeroWasteLIFE project arises from reaching breakthrough performances in terms of wastes avoidance thanks to the deposition of reinforcements only where needed.
ZeroWasteLIFE project is expected to reduce the wastes, improve the materials efficiency, reducing at the same time the costs for the final products and their rate of reusability, thanks also to a modular design. The project outcome is validated through two different optimized demo products, one in the automotive and one in the aerospace segment.
A reduced net impact of 15% energy and CO2 emissions and 40% raw material will be demonstrated, leading to a strong impact on product acceptability.
- To demonstrate that the composite manufacturing of three dimensional shapes and structures can be performed through optimized amount of material;
- To show a drastic reduction of the volume wasted nowadays in the working process (from current average of 40% to near to zero) with the adoption of the High Volume Tailored Fiber Placement (HV-TFP) method. Wastes are mainly related to the trimming in dry ply and pre-pregs, extra material cuts and grinding edge cleaning;
- To cut energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 15%;
- To realize demonstrators (one automotive and one aerospace part) with two different processes: Resin Transfer Moulding and Autoclave.
- To assess the global sustainability (economical-industrial, environmental and societal) of the process.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) under grant agreement N°101114149. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.