Year/Course: 2007-2008, Lent 2008

Contacts: Dai Morgan, Institute for Manufacturing
Mentors: Charles Romito, Institute for Manufacturing

Over the past 2 years, Dai Morgan has been focused on developing a low-energy, low-cost approach to dealing with a certain form of industrial polymer-based waste. Previous recycling approaches required a large energy input and produced noxious waste products. In contrast, Dai’s method uses relatively little energy and results in a plastic-type material with a leathery consistency. At lab scale, this can be produced in small sheets of material, up to 150mm wide.

This efficient process developed at the Institute for Manufacturing will only be adopted commercially if a valuable use can be found for the resulting material, allowing it to be sold onto other companies with a higher margin than its scrap value. The detailed physical properties of the material will be measured over the next few months, and it is expected that different characteristics will be important for different applications. The final use for the material could well affect the details of the recycling process, in particular in defining the size and form factor required for the resultant material.

The i-Team’s challenge will be to identify and recommend specific applications where the new material can be best used, to the maximum commercial advantage, and also identify which physical characteristics of the material are important to the different uses that they find.