Characterisation and improvement of the quality of mixing of recycled thermoplastic composites

Guillaume A. Vincent, Thomas A. de Bruijn, Sebastiaan Wijskamp, Mohammed Iqbal Abdul Rasheed, Martin van Drongelen, Remko Akkerman

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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A low-shear mixer was used to blend thermoplastic composite scrap material into a molten mixed dough, which was then compression moulded. This process is a key step in a novel recycling solution for thermoplastic composites. A study was carried out to characterise the quality of mixing (QoM) of the blended doughs to understand how to improve the QoM of mixed doughs towards further improvement and implementation of the recycling solution. In order to achieve this, the effect of mixing parameters and fibre length on the QoM were studied. This study used shredded C/PPS flakes, originating from consolidated laminate scrap. These flakes are about 20 mm in size, and contain woven fabric reinforcement, making them far different from regular pellets, and therefore more difficult to mix. The QoM was characterised by means of image analysis of a large set of cross-sectional microscopy images, based on which the scale and intensity of segregation of the fibre clusters were evaluated. Bundle size distribution was determined by applying Delaunay triangulations to cluster the fibre centres. These methods were found to be suitable for characterising the QoM of such doughs. Increasing the mixing time and mixing speed were identified as key ways to improve the mixing process. With the current mixing machine, it is also suggested not to use fibres longer than 15 mm on average in order to limit intra-dough variability. For doughs made of fibres longer than 15 mm, improvements on the mixing device could sufficiently increase the QoM.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100108
Number of pages17
JournalComposites Part C: Open Access
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021


  • Image analysis
  • Long fibre
  • Mixing
  • Spatial statistics
  • Thermoplastic composites


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