RESEARCH
Recyclate material use in white goods / Feasibility study by Fraunhofer Institute
Optimised recycled plastics can perform similarly to virgin plastics in large white-goods applications, said researchers at German applied research organisation, Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability (LBF, Darmstadt; www.lbf.fraunhofer.de), working with compatriot electrotechnical group Robert Bosch (Stuttgart; www.bosch.com) and home appliance firm BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte (BSH, Munich; www.bsh-group.com), in a step towards making household appliances more sustainable.

The partners demonstrated that PP recyclates can be used in higher value-added applications beyond packaging: they tested material recycled from automotive starter batteries that was suitable for manufacturing 2 kg dishwasher case bottoms and a case bottom pin that is subject to mechanical stress when the dishwasher door is opened and closed. Based on a production figure of 3m dishwashers per year, case bottoms produced from recyclate could save around 2500 t of crude oil annually, equivalent to oil transported in a 110 m long barge, Fraunhofer reported.

The research calculated material characteristics by subjecting case bottom test pins made from virgin and recyclate material to a set test force applied 100,000 times – an amount equal to the lifespan of the component in the application. Additives were used to increase the strength and visual properties of the recyclate, which proved to be 15% weaker than virgin plastics, yet demonstrated stiffness properties similar to virgin material. The feasibility study concluded that the recyclate could replace virgin material in the application.
14.01.2022 Plasteurope.com [249369-0]
Published on 14.01.2022

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