Nav: Home

Researchers use recycled carbon fiber to improve permeable pavement

March 01, 2018

PULLMAN, Wash. - A Washington State University research team is solving a high-tech waste problem while addressing the environmental challenge of stormwater run-off.

The researchers have shown they can greatly strengthen permeable pavements by adding waste carbon fiber composite material. Their recycling method, described in the March issue of the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, doesn't require using much energy or chemicals -- a critical factor for recycling waste materials.

Traditional vs. pervious

Unlike the impermeable pavement that is used for most roads and parking lots, pervious concrete allows rainwater to freely drain and seep into the ground underneath. Because of increasing concerns about flooding in urban areas and requirements for controlling stormwater run-off, several cities have tried using the pervious concrete in parking lots and low-traffic streets. But because it is highly porous, it is not as durable as the traditional concrete that is used on major roads.

Recycling carbon fiber

Carbon fiber composites, meanwhile, have become increasingly popular in numerous industries. Super light and strong, the material is used in everything from airplane wings to wind turbines and cars. While the market is growing about 10 percent per year, however, industries have not figured out a way to easily recycle their waste, which is as much as 30 percent of the material used in production.

Led by Karl Englund, associate research professor, and Somayeh Nassiri, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the researchers added carbon fiber composite scrap that they received from Boeing manufacturing facilities to their pervious concrete mix. They used mechanical milling to refine the composite pieces to the ideal sizes and shapes. The added material greatly increased both the durability and strength of pervious concrete.

"In terms of bending strength, we got really good results -- as high as traditional concrete, and it still drains really quickly," said Nassiri.

Milling vs. heat or chemicals

The researchers used inexpensive milling techniques instead of heat or chemicals to create a reinforcing element from the waste carbon fiber composites. They maintained and made use of the original strength of the composites by keeping them in their cured composite form. Their mix also required using a lot of the composite material, which would be ideal for waste producers. "You're already taking waste -- you can't add a bunch of money to garbage and get a product," said Englund. "The key is to minimize the energy and to keep costs down."

The composite materials were dispersed throughout the pavement mix to provide uniform strength.

Testing and mainstreaming

While they have shown the material works at the laboratory scale, the researchers are beginning to conduct real-world tests on pavement applications. They are also working with industry to begin developing a supply chain.

"In the lab this works to increase permeable pavement's durability and strength," said Nassiri. "The next step is to find out how to make it mainstream and widespread."

The research for this project was made possible through a partnership with the Boeing Company.
-end-


Washington State University

Related Energy Articles:

Mandatory building energy audits alone do not overcome barriers to energy efficiency
A pioneering law may be insufficient to incentivize significant energy use reductions in residential and office buildings, a new study finds.
Scientists: Estonia has the most energy efficient new nearly zero energy buildings
A recent study carried out by an international group of building scientists showed that Estonia is among the countries with the most energy efficient buildings in Europe.
Mapping the energy transport mechanism of chalcogenide perovskite for solar energy use
Researchers from Lehigh University have, for the first time, revealed first-hand knowledge about the fundamental energy carrier properties of chalcogenide perovskite CaZrSe3, important for potential solar energy use.
Harvesting energy from walking human body Lightweight smart materials-based energy harvester develop
A research team led by Professor Wei-Hsin Liao from the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has developed a lightweight smart materials-based energy harvester for scavenging energy from human motion, generating inexhaustible and sustainable power supply just from walking.
How much energy do we really need?
Two fundamental goals of humanity are to eradicate poverty and reduce climate change, and it is critical that the world knows whether achieving these goals will involve trade-offs.
New discipline proposed: Macro-energy systems -- the science of the energy transition
In a perspective published in Joule on Aug. 14, a group of researchers led by Stanford University propose a new academic discipline, 'macro-energy systems,' as the science of the energy transition.
How much energy storage costs must fall to reach renewable energy's full potential
The cost of energy storage will be critical in determining how much renewable energy can contribute to the decarbonization of electricity.
Energy from seawater
A new battery made from affordable and durable materials generates energy from places where salt and fresh waters mingle.
Shifts to renewable energy can drive up energy poverty, PSU study finds
Efforts to shift away from fossil fuels and replace oil and coal with renewable energy sources can help reduce carbon emissions but do so at the expense of increased inequality, according to a new Portland State University study
Putting that free energy around you to good use with minuscule energy harvesters
Scientists at Tokyo Tech developed a micro-electromechanical energy harvester that allows for more flexibility in design, which is crucial for future IoT applications.
More Energy News and Energy Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.