Recycling of composite materials

IMPULSTEC Applications | Recycling of composite materials

A highly promising area of application of the shock wave process is the recycling of composites, such as solar panels and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics.In addition to the separation of the materials into their pure individual components, ImpulsTec’s selective fragmentation technology offers even more efficient possibilities of recycling, namely the “functional recycling”. The latter indicates a shift from a pure element/material driven recycling towards a removal of intact composites and complete substructures that are reused in the original application or production process.

The selectivity achievable with the shock wave fragmentation process depends on the mechanical and acoustic properties of the composite materials. The fact that each material can be non-destructively recovered allows new recycling approaches to be imagined, departing from material recycling in favour of functional recycling.

Solar panels are another possible application of the shock wave process, allowing both the semiconductor material and the high-quality front glass to be recovered while meeting the high purity requirements associated with these materials.

The shock wave fragmentation offered by ImpulsTec is ideal for detaching thin coatings from substrates. Depending on the mechanical integrity of their materials, some substrates will remain largely structurally intact, while others will also be fragmented. The minimum thickness of the detachable layer depends on the combination of materials and the physical properties of the objects to which they are bound. In some of our research and customer projects, we were able to use the shock wave process to detach layers with thicknesses of less than 10 µm.

Advantages for applications

  • separation of complex industrial materials into their components
  • more efficient recycling opportunities by recovering valuable materials
  • access to previously unavailable raw material potentials (production waste)
  • feeding back of materials to the production process (inline recycling)

Solar panels

Galvanized plastics (shower head)



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