Flash upcycling of waste glass fiber-reinforced plastics to phase-controllable silicon carbide

17 October 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The increasing use of fiber-reinforced plastic has triggered an urgent demand for its recycling once it reaches its end-of-life. Currently, landfilling and incineration are major disposal methods of fiber-reinforced plastic, which lead to undesirable waste of resources and environmental contamination. To address this issue, we disclose a solvent-free and energy-efficient flash upcycling method to convert the mixture of glass fiber-reinforced plastic and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic into SiC powders within seconds and in yields of >90%. By modulating input pulse voltages and flash times, SiC with two different phases, 3C-SiC and 6H-SiC, can be selectively synthesized, each with phase purity of 90-99%. Theoretical simulations reveal that the increasing content of Si vacancy during flash process dominates the phase transformation from 3C-SiC to 6H-SiC. The SiC powders are further used as the anode material for lithium-ion batteries, which yields a phase-dependent performance. The 3C-SiC anode exhibits superior reversible capacity (741 mAh·g-1 at 0.2 C) and rate performance over the 6H-SiC anode (626 mAh·g-1 at 0.2 C), while both show excellent cycling stability (~95% capacity retention after 200 cycles). Life cycle assessment reveals the flash upcycling process greatly reduces the energy demand, greenhouse gas emission and water consumption over other recycling processes.


flash Joule heating
waste glass fiber-reinforced plastics
phase-controllable silicon carbide
silicon carbide
wind turbine blades

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Material
The supplementary information includes: Supplementary Methods Supplementary Note 1-4 Supplementary Figs. 1-46 Supplementary Tables 1-10 References


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