The glass reinforced mortar tube (FRPM) is made up of a fiber glass reinforced plastic (FRP) layer and a resin mortar layer. Currently, only fine powder containing resin mortar is recycled. Osaka University and Kurimoto jointly developed a technology to recycle FRPM completely. The newly developed technology reprocesses wasted RRP to heat insulator and reutilizes wasted resin mortar as FRPM. The research team developed this technology under the leadership of Professor of Makio Naito of Joining and Welding Research Institute of Osaka University.
Fractions of wasted RFP are put in a mill, and they are separated into FRP waste material that includes glass fiber and resin mortar. Nanoparticles of silica are added to the surface of the collected the FRP waste material to produce a light-weight and porous material with high degree of thermal insulation by press work. The reprocessed insulator has lots of hollows of less than 100 nanometers, and it can be utilized as insulator because it is light-weight and its thermal conductivity is low. FRP is widely used in such industrial fields as automobile, aircraft, and home electronics, and 45-50 tons of wasted glass fiber is produced annually. Because no recycling technology is established, nearly all wasted FRP is currently reclaimed or destroyed by fire. Protector tubes used for sewage water pipes and telecommunication cables can hardly be recycled because the composite structure containing the resin mortar layer accounts for more than half of the cross section.