The use of composites in industry is ever increasing. However, end-of-life solutions for composites are still under development. In this paper, a solution linking design strategies with a recycling process for thermoset composite materials is proposed. The recovery solution for these materials is a supercritical water solvolysis process. The needs and multi-disciplinary skills required for taking recycling possibilities into account in the early stages of product design and the necessity to standardise product-recycling capabilities based on design requirements will be discussed. The paper highlights the need for designers to take a functional approach into consideration, including characterisation of materials behaviour, recycling process limits, constraints and opportunities. This paper will show the first lessons learned from experiments, using this technique.
Keywords: design for recycling, eco-design, organic matrix composites, composite recycling, knowledge exchange