Speakers

Prof. Dr. JAMES L. THOMASON


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
University of Strathclyde, UK

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​​​​​​​Bio

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Jim Thomason has 25 years industry experience, at Shell Chemicals  and Owens Corning Fibreglass, leading global fibre and composite product development programmes involving extensive fundamental research and development of glass fibre sizings, interfaces and composites structure-property relationships. In 2007 he moved to the University of Strathclyde where he was appointed Professor of Advanced Materials and Composites. He now leads the Advanced Composites Group whose mission is to generate industrially relevant fundamental understanding of reinforced polymer composites. His research group is highly active in the field structure-(re)processing-performance relationships in composites with a strong focus on sizings and interfaces in glass fibre reinforced composites and the recycling, regeneration and reuse of glass fibres recycled from end of life composites and composites manufacturing waste. He has recently published two review books on Glass Fibre Sizings.


​Presenta​tion

​Towards a New Generation of Glass Fibre Products Based on Regenerated Fibres Thermally Recycled from End-Of-Life GRP and GRP Manufacturing Waste

The recovery and reuse of end-of-life glass fibre reinforced plastics in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective manner is one of the most important challenges facing the composites industry. In 2019 the global consumption of reinforcement grade glass fibre (GF) will likely exceed six million tons. Associated with this global GF consumption is the production of 0.5-1 million tons of GF manufacturing waste much of which is landfilled. Furthermore, approximately 70% of reinforcement GF is used to manufacture thermoset based composites (GRP) which also produces approximately 15% manufacturing waste. Consequently it can be shown that there is actually sufficient GF available in current manufacturing waste together with end-of-life GRP to meet approximately 50% of the global demand for GF reinforcements. However, such GF and GRP materials (both end-of-life and manufacturing waste) are difficult to recycle in an efficient manner and have historically also been disposed of in landfills. Such landfilling is rapidly becoming untenable due to legislative and landfill pricing developments.​Associated with this global GF consumption is the production of 0.5-1 million tons of GF manufacturing waste much of which is landfilled. Furthermore, approximately 70% of reinforcement GF is used to manufacture thermoset based composites (GRP) which also produces approximately 15% manufacturing waste. Consequently it can be shown that there is actually sufficient GF available in current manufacturing waste together with end-of-life GRP to meet approximately 50% of the global demand for GF reinforcements. However, such GF and GRP materials (both end-of-life and manufacturing waste) are difficult to recycle in an efficient manner and have historically also been disposed of in landfills. Such landfilling is rapidly becoming untenable due to legislative and landfill pricing developments.​

A number of processes for recycling GRP are available or under development. However, nearly all options deliver recycled glass fibres (RGF) which are not cost-performance competitive due to the huge drop in performance of RGF compared to its original state. A breakthrough in the regeneration of RGF performance has the potential to totally transform the economics of recycling GRP waste and end-of-life composites. The Advanced Composite Group at the University of Strathclyde has been working on this challenge for over a decade. This presentation will review the status of the ReCoVeR project which is focussed ​on enabling cost-effective regeneration of the performance and value of glass fibres obtained from thermal recycling of end-of-life GRP and GRP manufacturing waste. Highlights of our latest results will be presented with emphasis on our breakthrough treatments to regenerate the properties of thermally recycled glass fibres and their reuse as a composite reinforcement.​