The production of carbon fiber is increasing steadily, however, the material that needs to be recycled is still a challenge. According to a research conducted at Washington State University, it is possible to grind up carbon fiber waste and use it in improving the pervious concrete. Pervious concrete is highly-porous and can handle stormwater run-off making it pass straight through into the soil underneath. It prevents flooding and also reduces pollution run-off to the aquatic life. The traditional non-pervious concrete makes the water run the length of the road and accumulates more and more pollutants along the way.
Since it is porous, the pervious concrete is not as durable as the normal one. This is where the usage of carbon fiber steps in. The research led by Karl England and Somayeh Nassiri, used an inexpensive mechanical milling technique to grind up scrap carbon fiber provided by Boeing. When the grounded carbon fiber was added to the team’s existing pervious concrete mixture, the durability and strength of the resulting material were enhanced a lot. Nassiri said, “In terms of bending strength, we got really good results — as high as traditional concrete, and it still drains really quickly.”
In addition to that, since the carbon fiber is added to the mixture in cured and composite form, neither heat nor any chemicals are required to process it. The researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology on some laboratory samples. They are also looking forward to conducting large-scale tests soon enough.