The objective of this project is to conduct applied research that will lead to the development of an innovative agile manufacturing plant for onsite fabrication of recycled thermoplastic products at forward operating bases (FOBs).
Of the various plastics in the waste stream at FOBs, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and PE (Polyethylene) constitute the most significant portion. Based on earlier research work for the US Army under a previous project, a complete, mobile, extrusion plant for PE waste had already been designed by the PI of this project. This research effort will focus on reclaimed PET, (or RPET) and the work will include waste stream characterization, source separation, RPET formulation development, processing challenges, and identification of RPET products that could be manufactured and used directly on-site at FOBs.
The clear benefits of this project will not only involve significant improvements in the self-sustainability for the warfighter with a reduction in the logistics tail, but also the ability to manufacture value-added products on-demand, on-site at the FOBs. Additionally, the results of this project will reduce open burning which would benefit not only the environment, but the health of the personnel performing the burn as well.