New recyclable resin makes wind turbines much more sustainable

Elium® is the first liquid thermoplastic resin designed for manufacturing composite parts with mechanical properties similar to thermosetting. The major advantage of Elium® is it acts like a thermoplastic, which means it is uniquely designed for thermoforming, recycling and welding.

Doug Adams, Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Daniel F. Flowers Professor, said that made wind turbines an ideal project for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, a consortium of industry, government and academic institutions aimed at improving the composite materials that are manufactured for use in turbines, cars, compressed gas storage tanks and a number of other products like airplanes and sporting goods.

“What better application to look at than wind power, where we think about energy and sustainability foremost in our minds? It’s a grand challenge in composites manufacturing,” said Adams, who also chairs Vanderbilt’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The problem has a solution in sight, thanks to a new recyclable resin that cures at room temperature provided by industry partner Arkema. This new resin, called Elium, creates its own heat and cures without creating flaws in the fiberglass. Unlike its predecessor, this resin doesn’t prevent the fiberglass from being recycled.

Read more: New recyclable resin makes wind turbines much more sustainable