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Recently, a pioneering project involving multiple organizations allowing carbon fiber recycling in various sports has been initiated. Imagine that from now you can give a premium material like carbon fiber a second life for repeated use. Read this article to find out how you can perpetuate the use of carbon fiber in the future.
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In This Article:
- Carbon Fiber Usage Is Massive in Sports Equipment
- The World Sailing Trust and Environmental Sustainability
- A Multi-organizational Project for Carbon Fiber Recycling
- Realigning Carbon Fiber With Innovative Technology
New Technology to Promote Carbon Fiber Recycling in Sports
Carbon Fiber Usage Is Massive in Sports Equipment
Carbon fiber is widely used for manufacturing sporting goods, especially in equipment used for elite-level competitions. In watersports such as rowing, kayaking, and water skiing, its use is prevalent, including in helmets, paddles, canoes, and even to enhance the swimsuit itself, as was the case at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
The ubiquity of carbon fiber in elite sports is due to the material’s superior strength and lightweight profile, allowing for a wide range of applications. Indeed, the use of carbon fiber is growing faster than ever. The sporting goods industry is the third-largest consumer of carbon fiber in the world, behind only the aerospace and wind turbine industries.
The World Sailing Trust and Environmental Sustainability
The World Sailing Trust is a global organization supporting sailing and environmentally sustainable activities, products, and practices. Its mission is to promote participation in sailing and access to protect the planet’s waters for young sailing athletes. Having a significant influence on individuals and organizations worldwide, the World Sailing Trust catalyzes progress for the global sailing community.
Aligning its mission with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the World Sailing Trust has been striving for environmental sustainability by promoting the conversion of waste materials into new objects. Given that carbon fiber cannot be remelted and reused like other metal materials used in sports and a lack of a long-term solution for carbon fiber waste, the Carbon Fiber Circular Demonstration Project has been initiated.
A Multi-organizational Project for Carbon Fiber Recycling
The Carbon Fiber Circular Demonstration Project is a multi-organizational project promoting recycling to reduce the materials’ carbon footprint and alleviate the proportion of carbon fiber waste in landfills. Supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lineat Composites, and various sports equipment manufacturers, the collaboration runs an unprecedentedly large-scale program based on the reuse of carbon fiber components in sports.
The World Sailing Trust claims that collaboration and alliance are the key drivers in this project. They are aware that sports in general and high-end performance sports depend significantly on carbon fiber. Thus, initiating such an innovative program is imperative. However, this endeavor is in its infancy stage, as many more sports and industries are to be invited to participate.
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Realigning Carbon Fiber With Innovative Technology
The focal point of the entire project is the deployment of a new technology known as the HiPerDiF process system. Standing for High-Performance, Discontinuous Fiber, the HiPerDiF technology enables carbon fiber production from broken or failed sports components. Suppose you have a broken carbon fiber bike (although the chance of breaking a carbon fiber piece of equipment is scarce). You can recycle it by realigning the fibers to make a complete product that may be even better than the original virgin fiber.
This reproduction of carbon fiber is possible thanks to the continuous effort and research by Lineat Composites and the research department of the University of Bristol. If the collaboration can push the project forward to the next stage, which will involve more organizations and the commercialized use of aligning machines, up to 80 billion fibers can be made daily. This mass production will give carbon fiber a second life to show up in more sports.
The day we can get a glimpse of carbon fiber not only in high-end performance sports but also in smaller, everyday sports components is on the horizon. Initial results are looking very promising, and the next stage of the process is worth taking seriously.
If you have questions about carbon fiber recycling or any of the details discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
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