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Vibration-based Nondestructive Testing to Determine Viability of Parts Produced with Recycled Thermoplastic Composites

The economic impact of the nearly half-trillion dollar recycling and reuse industry notwithstanding, recycling and reprocessing of materials holds significant socio-environmental value. However, variances in physical or mechanical properties in reprocessed material can be an impediment to the adoption of recycled material in industrial applications. Operating ranges of systems from the rocker-bogie suspension on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Curiosity Rover to agitator assemblies in everyday washing machines are constrained by system resonance and damping. Variances beyond design specifications from material reprocessing could render these systems inoperable. In a previous study, the authors demonstrated the viability of recycled carbon fiber (RCF) as a raw material for making long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) compounds using polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) as the matrix resin. The mechanical properties achieved with recycled fibers were similar to those achieved with commercial LFT material. The current study investigates the influence of reprocessing carbon fiber PPS (C/PPS) thermoplastics over six generations (control plus five) on dynamic behavior in terms of resonant frequency and damping by subjecting C/PPS from each generation to vibration excitation in a free-free boundary condition. Very little change in the vibration response of C/PPS was observed, with successive generations further corroborating the viability of RCF for LFT compounds.

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