Recycle Processor for Commercial Aircraft Wing Trimmings

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction

Publication Date



Tons of composite trimmings are regularly generated as a result of current production methods in commercial aircraft wing component fabrication. Specific to this proposal, a local facility produces trimmings that range in thickness from about a centimeter to over two inches thick and varying widths from a few inches to six inches and lengths up to five feet. Reducing the cost of the disposition of these trimmings and a reduction of waste to landfill are the primary motivations for this work. A processor was devised that both separates fiber and reduces volume. This device is a vertical crusher/roller into which the ‘boards’ are inserted. An initial cogged wheel delaminates much of the board. Secondary wheels and hammers crush the matrix. The resulting matrix is captured at the bottom, while the fibers are pulled off to a side roller. Preliminary testing of a prototype indicates that a composite board takes 156 ksi to initiate delamination in bending. A sub-size device with components was designed and built. The device was designed in the fall of 2017 and constructed over the winter. By spring the system was operational and test data was generated for the processor. Test parameters include percent and amounts of recovered fiber, processing rates related to all the composite constituents, packing volumes, and overall energy management. A report was generated in concurrence with our MET489 Senior Project capstone course by the end of the current academic year.


This article was originally published in Materials Science Forum. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Materials Science Forum


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