21 May, 2024

Successful recycling of Twaron® composites

In a significant step towards sustainability within the aerospace industry, Teijin Aramid, in partnership with Mallinda, has announced a pioneering breakthrough in the recycling of composite materials. This collaborative process not only recovers Twaron® fabric in excellent condition but also renders the resin system ready for reuse.  

"It's as if we each hold a vital piece of a complex puzzle, blending technology and composites expertise seamlessly." This collaboration underscores a shared commitment to advancing circular solutions in material science"
Philip Taynton, CEO, Mallinda. 

Composite material recycling through depolymerization

The partnership has already yielded impressive results, including the successful depolymerization of composite materials to reclaim both the aramid and resin systems. The initiative has demonstrated the feasibility of recycling aramid and highlighted the recyclability of the resin system, with a resin removal rate of 92–95% with room for optimization. 

The initiative began with evaluating various resin systems that could facilitate this recycling process. Mallinda's Vitrimax resin system emerged as a standout, enabling effective depolymerization at the end of the product's lifecycle. This method recovers valuable materials and prepares them for potential reuse in new applications.

End-of-life solution for aramid composites

This achievement marks a notable advancement in addressing the challenge of end-of-life disposal for aramid composites, which are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their thermoset nature. Traditionally, such materials would end up in landfills or be incinerated, but with this new method, a more sustainable alternative is now viable. 

Teijin Aramid's Research and Innovation Center (RIC) in Arnhem has been at the forefront of these trials.

"Our successful demonstration of reclaiming aramid and resin from used composites represents a significant step towards our long-term goal of a fully circular aramid product"
Walter Nijhuis, Senior R&D Scientist, Teijin Aramid.  


Enhancing aerospace sustainability 

Looking ahead, the focus is on refining the properties of the Vitrimax resin system to enhance the final composite material's qualities. The goal is to achieve a circular solution that offers the aerospace industry not only environmental benefits but also cost reductions through more efficient material use and less frequent need for replacement. 

This breakthrough highlights the power of collaboration in driving sustainability in the aerospace industry. By merging Mallinda's recyclable resins with Teijin Aramid's fiber expertise, we are setting new standards for eco-friendly practices. Currently, we are refining the Vitrimax resin to enhance the properties of aramid composites. Achieving this will cut costs by allowing repairs instead of full replacements, and set the standard for sustainable, cost-effective aerospace solutions.

Learn more about how we're making aerospace more sustainable.