Recycled Carbon Fibre Composites in Automotive Manufacturing

Jean-Baptiste R. G. Souppez, Geethanjali Pavar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The contemporary need for lightweight and sustainable materials in automotive manufacturing has made recycled carbon fibre an attractive option. Yet, aspects such as the mechanical properties of short fibre composites need to be characterised to fully identify the capabilities and opportunities for recycled carbon fibre in the automotive industry. Consequently, this paper aims to ascertain the potential of recycled carbon fibre materials for automotive manufacturing by considering mechanical properties, design implications, and resulting costs and sustainability. Destructive testing is employed to characterise the mechanical properties of virgin carbon fibre (VCF), recycled carbon fibre (RCF) using pyrolysis, and blended recycled carbon fibre (BRCF) comprising 50% polypropylene fibre. Here we quantify (i) the reduction in mechanical properties, namely the tensile modulus and breaking strength, (ii) the resulting increase in required thickness and therefore mass for manufactured parts and (iii) the reduction in cost and embodied energy achieved for RCF and BRCF compared to VCF, based on both a stiffness- and a strengthdriven design criterion. Furthermore, we present a decision-making methodology revealing BRCF as the most cost-effective solution, while RCF proves to be the most sustainable alternative. These results provide a novel quantitative assessment of recycled carbon fibre for automotive manufacturing and may contribute to future developments in sustainable composite manufacturing in the automotive industry.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Automotive Manufacturing and Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2023 by the authors. Submitted for possible open access publication under the terms and conditions of
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  • composite recycling; composite manufacturing; automotive design; high performance


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