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TitleThe quest for a sustainable product : an environmental study of tyre recyclates
Author(s)Simões, Carla L.
Simões, Ricardo
Carvalho, J. M. Valério de
Pontes, A. J.
Bernardo, C. A.
KeywordsEnvironmental performance
Polymer matrix composites
A. Polymer matrix composites
C. Recycling
E. Environmental performance
Issue date2013
JournalMaterials and Design
Abstract(s)The main objective of the present study is to assess the environmental advantages of substituting aluminium for a polymer composite in the manufacture of a structural product (a frame to be used as a support for solar panels). The composite was made of polypropylene and a recycled tyres’ rubber granulate. Analysis of different composite formulations was performed, to assess the variation of the environmental impact with the percentage of rubber granulate incorporation. The results demonstrate that the decision on which of the two systems (aluminium or composite) has the best life cycle performance is strongly dependent on the End-of Life (EoL) stage of the composite frame. When the EoL is deposition in a landfill, the aluminium frame performs globally better than its composite counterpart. However, when it is incineration with energy recovery or recycling, the composite frame is environmentally preferable. The raw material production stage was found to be responsible for most of the impacts in the two frame systems. In that context, it was shown that various benefits can accrue in several environmental impact categories by recycling rubber tyres and using the resulting materials. This is in a significant part also due to the recycling of the steel in the tyres. The present work illustrates how it is possible to minimize the overall environmental impact of consumer products through the adequate selection of their constitutive materials in the design stage. Additionally it demonstrates how an adequate EoL planning can be an important issue when developing a sustainable product, since it can highly influence its overall life cycle performance.
Publisher version
AccessRestricted access (UMinho)
Appears in Collections:IPC - Artigos em revistas científicas internacionais com arbitragem

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