A pan European consortium project which aims to engineer high value products from low grade mixed plastic waste has manufactured its first test barrier panel designed for use in flood defences, with promising results.
PRIME (Plastic Recyclate Impression Moulding Engineering) is consortium made up of ten partners from the European Community that proposes to use mixed polymer waste to manufacture high value products, with strength and good surface quality that have similar properties to timber or aluminium. The process is designed to be suitable to manufacture a wide range of complex products such as flood barriers, as well as in marine and construction applications.
Experts in material science and innovators in manufacturing using mixed polymers have combined their expertise to build a prototype rig that has now manufactured the first test barrier panel for use in flood defences. In doing this, optimum process conditions have been determined, with more than 50 different processing conditions being evaluated based on variables such as heating time and flame mode.
Environmental testing on the panels, including UV, humidity, moisture and flame testing are continuing, and further production trials are now to be carried out to manufacture a final prototype flood barrier.
The technical and manufacturing developments have also been complemented by Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), comparing panels manufactured using mixed plastic waste and aluminium panels currently used in flood defence barriers. The project is to be completed in June 2013, and the final results of the project, including LCA analysis, will be communicated later in the year.
Steve Morgan from Recoup, who is also the PRIME Dissemination and Commercial Exploitation Manager, stated: “We have seen some very promising results in the manufacture of the panels, and this clearly demonstrates the increasing potential of using mixed polymer waste to create high end products that can be used in many industries.”