Polymer composites offer high performance with minimal weight when compared with more traditional materials such as high strength steels. The increased usage of composites means it is becoming more important to be able to recycle components made from fibre reinforced polymer composites. Materials made of thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-moulded into new components, however this is not possible with the inclusion of fibres such as glass or carbon as these cannot be melted down. Stiffness is not the only property that is augmented because of turning a material into a self-reinforced polymer composite. Strength, heat deflection temperature and impact performance are all increased while offering little increase in the density of the material. SRP composites are reinforced with the same polymers from which the matrix made. This means that although gaining a significant increase in properties there is no increase in density of the material, making it extremely lightweight. A disadvantage is its temperature sensitivity. During processing, temperature must be controlled very accurately to melt only the matrix material while keeping the reinforcement un-damaged by the heat. This is very difficult due to the relatively small processing windows these materials present. Secondly, these materials are 100% thermoplastic, and as such they cannot be used for high temperature applications, as they would lose properties very rapidly.
PP fibre – PP matrix