WASHINGTON, March 1 (Xinhua) -- An American research team is solving a high-tech waste problem while addressing the environmental challenge of storm water run-off, according to a study released on Thursday.
The recycling method, described in the March issue of the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, has added carbon fiber composite scrap that they received from Boeing manufacturing facilities to their pervious concrete mix.
Previous pervious concrete allows rainwater to freely drain and seep into the ground underneath, but the porous structure is not as durable as the traditional concrete.
Meanwhile, the super light and strong carbon fiber composites is increasingly used in areas from airplane wings to wind turbines and cars.
While the market is growing about 10 percent per year, but industries have not figured out a way to easily recycle their waste, which is as much as 30 percent of the material used in production.
Researchers led by Karl Englund, associate research professor from Washington State University, used inexpensive mechanical milling, instead of heat or chemicals, to refine the composite pieces to the ideal sizes and shapes.
While they have shown the material works at the laboratory scale, the researchers are beginning to conduct real-world tests on pavement applications.
"You're already taking waste -- you can't add a bunch of money to garbage and get a product," said Englund. "The key is to minimize the energy and to keep costs down."