Development and characterisation of novel structural composites from recycled materials

Sotayo, Adeayo and Green, Sarah and Turvey, Geoffrey (2016) Development and characterisation of novel structural composites from recycled materials. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Carpets are composite materials and, like many composite materials, waste carpet is both difficult and expensive to recycle because of the complicated, multi-stage processes involved. In the UK, approximately 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste are sent to landfill annually. However, the landfill option is becoming uneconomic due to increasing landfill charges, the reduction in landfill sites and changes in environmental legislation. This project, in collaboration with ECO2 Enterprises, aimed to avoid the landfill option and develop novel structural composites from carpet waste, which could be used to replace timber and PVC posts and rails in equestrian fencing. The development of these composites is a recycling approach that makes use of carpet waste which would otherwise be sent to landfill thereby increasing environmental pollution. The study encompasses the investigation of relevant material and mechanical properties and processing characteristics of the prototype novel waste carpet composites both as a structural beam and an assembled fencing system. Details of the manufacturing processes of the novel waste carpet structural composites are described. Extensive experimental testing has been carried out to determine and compare the mechanical properties of the novel waste carpet structural composites to timber and PVC materials. In addition, experimental load tests and Finite Element (FE) analysis on typical equestrian timber and PVC post and rail fencing structures (benchmark data) were carried out to evaluate their stiffness characteristics against corresponding characteristics for a similar fencing structure comprised of the novel waste carpet structural composites. Design optimisation via geometric changes and FE analyses showed that a 69 % increase in the depth (from 71 to 120 mm) of the novel waste carpet composite posts resulted in a transverse stiffness similar to that of the timber fence. The results obtained from this study has demonstrated that the mechanical properties of the novel structural composites could potentially serve as an alternative/replacement for some common materials used in structural applications, such as timber and PVC fencing.

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Thesis (PhD)
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28 Apr 2017 15:40
Last Modified:
06 Dec 2023 00:52