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Recycling Thermoset Composite Materials

  1. Stephen J. Pickering

Published Online: 20 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118097298.weoc214

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

How to Cite

Pickering, S. J. 2012. Recycling Thermoset Composite Materials. Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites. 1–17.

Author Information

  1. The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 JUL 2012


In this article, the recycling of thermoset composites is described. Thermosetting polymers, once cured, cannot be remolded by melting and so the methods used for recycling thermoplastics cannot be used. Recycling is therefore carried out by one of two methods. The waste composite materials may be reduced in size to make powdered and fibrous materials that may be used as constituents in new composites. Alternatively, thermal and chemical techniques are used to remove the thermosetting polymer from the fiber reinforcement to produce a fiber recyclate, potentially of high value, that can be used as a reinforcement in new composites. The current state of development of these recycling routes is described and applications for the recycled material considered. Some areas for future research are identified.


  • recycling;
  • composites;
  • thermosets;
  • carbon fiber;
  • glass fiber