Author Date


Degree Name



Manufacturing Engineering


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Andy George

First Faculty Reader

Dr. Yuri Hovanski

Honors Coordinator

Dr. Mike Miles


composites, recycling, pyrolysis, sustainability, carbon, fiber


Composites are unique materials in many respects. When fabric woven from carbon fibers is joined with a thermoset resin in a controlled environment, it results in a very strong material, especially evaluated on a pound-for-pound basis against metals and ceramics. One aspect of this construction that provides great strength lies in the fiber-matrix adhesion which facilitates load transfer to the reinforcement of the composite. This fiber-matrix adhesion is promoted by the polarity of the usual thermoset matrices, and properly designed sizing materials coating the fibers. It’s a two-edged sword, though. Although the resin and the fibers are quite strong together, they are very difficult to pull apart once they’re formed, in order to recover the materials and use them again in the future. The crosslinked nature of thermoset matrices dictates combustion as the most viable option for separation of the constituents. As such, composite structures formed with industry-standard thermoset resins have a single-use lifespan. The least expensive end-use option is simply landfill disposal. However, by isolating the dry fibers by burning off the resin (a process called pyrolysis), the fibers are able to be reclaimed and processed again in useful ways. This study focuses on pyrolysis and ways to optimize its process for use of reclaimed carbon fiber. The aim is to showcase its environmentally-friendly capabilities through making new composite structures with fibers reclaimed via pyrolysis to lessen landfill waste.


Included in

Manufacturing Commons