Charles Pringle (Mechanical Engineering Technology), John Choi (Mechanical Engineering Technology)
The Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) project is designed to recycle carbon fiber pieces for use in manufacturing. Part of the system requires the removal of resin from the carbon fibers to facilitate the recycling of carbon fiber. To accomplish this task the pyrolysis process is implemented using a commercial grade oven with a conveyor system. Argon gas is injected into the shroud and over the oven to purge the interior of oxygen. The conveyor system enables this to be a batch process. A ramp is used to allow simple addition of material to the conveyor system and a shelf catches the processed carbon fiber at the end for easy retrieval. Flat plates were added to the existing conveyor system to allow the carbon fiber pieces to be moved with falling through. The resulting system achieved the recommended temperature of 500o Celsius to properly heat the carbon fiber pieces. The system provided a practical movement of product along the conveyor belt while also allowing for a full 30-minute heating time to give the carbon fiber pieces enough time to undergo the process. The addition of flat plates to the conveyor system did not impede operation. The electrical circuit added to control the movement of the conveyor system allows for a 30-minute heating time within 5%. The final carbon fiber pieces produced by the system were deemed adequate for reuse in manufacturing processes.
Keywords: Pyrolysis, Recycle,Carbon Fiber