Sustainable recycling of intact carbon fibres from end-of-service-life composites
A novel method is developed to reclaim carbon fibres from carbon fabric-reinforced cementitious composites. The method takes advantage of an electrically driven chemical reaction in the presence of an aqueous electrolyte solution and an electrical current. This paper presents an experimental programme to investigate the effects of the applied current density, the sodium chloride and nitric acid concentrations in the solution and the temperatures. Both tensile strengths and interfacial shear strengths of the reclaimed carbon fibres were evaluated. Microstructural analyses on the morphologies of the reclaimed carbon fibres were also performed. The proposed method is simple, environmentally friendly and efficient. This method has no size limits on the recycled composites, which indicates the suitability of this approach for large-scale industrial applications. The reclaimed carbon fibres are found to be intact and believed to have great commercial value since the recycling process did not damage their strengths or reduce their dimensions.