Technological watch

Recycling of polyamides: Processes and conditions

Polyamides (PA) are a family of engineering thermoplastics used in a wide range of applications including automotive, building, construction, separation processes, textiles, and so forth. This is related to their good properties (mechanical and thermal) which can also be modified by additives, other polymers (blends and multilayers) and fillers (composites). But these complex systems (several components) make the final materials more difficult to recycle. In this review, basic statistics on the production rate of polyamides are presented and the different recycling methods are reported to compare their advantages and limitations with respect to economics and technical analyses. The discussion includes biological, chemical, mechanical, physical, and thermal treatments to reintroduce, as much as possible, the parts after their end?of?service. Finally, a general conclusion on the current state of PA recycling is presented with several openings for future developments to satisfy the concept of circular economy and general sustainability.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.