Non-Polluting Composites Repair and Remanufacturing for Military Applications: An Environmental and Cost-Savings Analysis

Report No. ARL-TR-2139
Authors: Fink, Bruce K.; McKnight, Steven H.; Newton, Crystal H.; Gillespie, John W., Jr.; Palmese, Giuseppe R.
Date/Pages: December 1999; 103 pages
Abstract: Polymer-matrix composite material and structural adhesive repair and manufacturing have significant environmental costs for Department of Defense (DOD) use. 'The principal issues for reducing environmental costs are (1) reducing hazardous waste by eliminating shelf-life limitations; (2) reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by replacing global heating of the part with localized heating; (3) reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by accelerated curing and containment; and (4) reducing production debris hazardous waste through processing step management Due to the wide range of applications and material systems, as well as scenarios spanning manufacturing and depot and field repair, a family of solutions is described that is expected to meet these needs. An environmental baseline is established by identifying hazardous materials from composite repair and manufacturing operations and estimating usage and waste The predicted reduction in hazardous waste is 78% for composite materials and 95% for adhesives. NOx and VOC emissions can be reduced by 100% and 50% by using the proposed techniques. Conservative environmental cost- savings estimates are developed for several potential DOD applications. These estimates indicate that the use of the proposed technologies for DOD systems would provide an annual savings of $15 billion (1997) for the year 2028.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 1999