Can a hybrid composite made of recycled carbon fibres and natural fibres improve the flexural mechanical properties of epoxy composites compared to pure natural fibre reinforced polymers (NFRP)? Growing environmental concerns have led to an increased interest in the application of bio-based materials such as natural fibres in composites. Despite their good specific properties based on their low fibre density, the application of NFRP in load bearing applications such as aviation secondary structures is still limited. Low strength NFRP, compared to composites such as carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP), have significant drawbacks. At the same time, the constantly growing demand for CFRP in aviation and other transport sectors inevitably leads to an increasing amount of waste from manufacturing processes and end-of-life products. Recovering valuable carbon fibres by means of recycling and their corresponding re-application is an important task. However, such recycled carbon fibres (rCF) are usually available in a deteriorated (downcycled) form compared to virgin carbon fibres (vCF), which is limiting their use for high performance applications. Therefore, in this study the combination of natural fibres and rCF in a hybrid composite was assessed for the effect on flexural mechanical properties. Monolithic laminates made of hybrid nonwoven containing flax fibres and recycled carbon fibres were manufactured with a fibre volume fraction of 30% and compared to references with pure flax and rCF reinforcement. Three-point bending tests show a potential increase in flexural mechanical properties by combining rCF and flax fibre in a hybrid nonwoven.
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