Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF researchers have worked together with partner companies and demonstrated that recycled plastic performs like virgin plastic. Recycled plastic is also a suitable material for dishwasher case bottoms.
Recycling plastic have a vital role in climate and environmental protection. Packaging is manufactured from recycled plastic. But companies are reluctant to use recycled plastic with higher-end products. Because recycled plastic has different strength, odour and appearance then newly made plastic. But if we can process recycled plastic efficiently, then its properties can match the properties of virgin plastic.
Researchers have tried to show that recycled materials can be trusted in their new research. The scientists first optimized recycled from the housing of automotive starter batteries. They wanted to increase the strength and enhance the visual properties of the plastic. Next the scientists found out if the material would be suitable for making dishwasher case bottoms or not. The case bottoms weights around two kilograms and this is the base of a dishwasher.
This holds the side walls and housing ancillary components. The components include pump, status sensors and salt reservoir. If scientists are able to make case bottoms from recycled plastics, then it would be a significant step in making household appliances more sustainable. More than three million dishwashers per year can be produced by using recycled plastics. This will save 2500 tons of crude oil per year.
What can the recycled material achieve?
The researchers have produceda test specimen. Then they set force around 100,000 times. This number reflects the typical use of large white goods. This limit will show how much stress the material will be able to handle. With the specifications, the scientists established parameters for the design.
The number is based on a pin on the dishwasher case bottom. Mechanical stress will be applied to this when the dishwasher door will be opened and closed. The dishwasher case bottom will have a greater load. If the door of the dishwasher is opened 15 times a day than it has a lifespan of around 18 years. The door will be opened and closed around 100,000 times throughout the dishwasher’s entire service life.
How robust is the component made from recyclate?
The researchers have also conducted tests on the component with pure material testing. The researchers clamped virgin material case bottoms and applied loads to simulate when the machine door is opened and closed. The researchers have given it heat to up to 50 degrees. In the end, the researchers have also created a calculation and methodology. Then they “fed” this methodology with the recyclate’s material characteristics.