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5th November 2018, Brussels

EuCIA presents composites Eurocode guidelines

The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) will present the latest guidelines for the proposed composites Eurocode during Composites Europe 2018 in Stuttgart, this week. The association will also provide updates on other ongoing activities, including enhancements to its Eco Calculator environmental impact assessment tool and a European composites recycling survey.

During the exhibition, EuCIA will offer three presentations as part of the Composites Forum programme: New Perspectives in the World of the Structural Eurocodes, by Professor Luigi Ascione, University of Salerno, Italy, leader of the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) Working Group developing guidelines for a new Eurocode focused on composite materials; EuCIA – New Essential Building Blocks for the Composites Industry, by Roberto Frassine, President of EuCIA; and Carbon Fibre LCA Data in the Eco Calculator – an Essential Extension, by Jaap van der Woude, EuCIA Sustainability Consultant.

Eurocode for composites

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) materials offer durable, sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to traditional construction materials and this has led to their increasing use in European buildings and civil engineering structures during the past 20 years. However, to facilitate their more widespread adoption, comprehensive standards which provide designers and engineers with the confidence to build safe structures with FRP are essential.

EuCIA will present the latest guidelines for the proposed composites Eurocode during Composites Europe 2018. © EuCIA

The Eurocodes, a series of European standards written in the 1990s, provide a common approach for the design of buildings and other civil engineering works and include a number of codes relating to concrete, steel and other construction materials, but none applies specifically to FRP composites.

Progress towards a new code for composites is being driven by Working Group WG4 Fibre Reinforced Polymers under CEN Technical Committee 250 (CEN/TC250), with expert assistance and financial support from EuCIA.

After a period for trial use and commenting, CEN/TC250 will decide whether these technical specifications will be converted into a Eurocode for publication by the end of 2022. “The experience gained so far through the realisation of FRP structures worldwide, as well as the theoretical and experimental understanding achieved in this field, now makes it possible to develop a single set of guidelines for the EC countries,” said Prof Luigi Ascione, leader of Working Group WG4. “These guidelines compile a proposed body of rules to be applied to the design and execution of FRP structures.”

Advancing Eco Calculator

Life cycle assessments (LCAs) are becoming an ever more important part of the materials selection process, and EuCIA’s Eco Impact Calculator is a free online resource enabling composites manufacturers to calculate the environmental impact associated with the production of their products from cradle to gate. The Eco Report generated can be used as input for further life cycle calculations.

The Eco Calculator incorporates a set of materials and processes based on data EuCIA has collected over the past three years. This database is continually reviewed, updated and expanded to extend the tool's scope and application. Recent data additions include glass fibre mat and carbon fibre is scheduled to be added by the end of the year.

To ensure the most accurate information for forthcoming updates, EuCIA is currently seeking industry input for a number of materials and processes, including epoxy curing agents, flame retardants, prepreg, autoclaving and filament winding.

European recycling survey

As the application of composites across numerous industry sectors continues to grow, ways to recycle composite production waste and end of life products are becoming more critical.

“The amount of composite waste in the EU is still limited, but it will grow substantially during the next 20 years,” noted Roberto Frassine, President of EuCIA. “While there are many composites recycling initiatives worldwide, we recognised a need for reliable information on composite waste streams and recycling options for European industry stakeholders and we therefore established a Working Group earlier this year to pursue this objective.”

EuCIA’s Recycling Working Group has already completed a survey of the composite waste streams in the EU. An inventory of the recycling options currently available, and those under development, is now in progress.

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