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Is It Possible To Recycle Airplane?

Airplane Recycling

Airplane recycling refers to the process of recovering parts and materials from a decommissioned airplane.

Engines, turbine components, avionics, and landing gear can all be utilized as spare parts, while fuselage pieces contain important metals such as aluminum, titanium, and copper that can be reused. Even chairs, wall fixtures, and wing parts can be repurposed to create unique furniture.

Aviation Recycling

The process of dismantling and disassembling old airplanes and re-purposing their parts as spare parts or scrap is known as aviation recycling. Airplanes are made up of approximately 800 to 1000 recyclable parts, the vast majority of which are constructed of metal alloys and composite materials.

Aluminum and titanium are the two most prevalent metal alloys, and carbon fiber is the most frequent composite material. The recycling of airplanes is one area that is gaining popularity as the aviation industry works to reduce costs and go greener. With 12,000 airplanes set to be decommissioned over the next two decades, recycling will play a larger role.

Airplanes are deconstructed at airplane recycling facilities, where non-metal components with no recycle value are destroyed, and significant components are dismantled. The metal alloys are then remelted together to create a single homogenous alloy out of fragments.

It is believed that 400 to 450 planes are disassembled and recycled each year, fueling the $2 billion aviation parts business. and the constituents of metal alloys are arranged according to composition.

The key problem in aviation recycling is ensuring that the number of metal impurities in recycled aircraft material is low enough to allow them to be reused in other planes. Some major limitations in aircraft recycling include cost, impurities in alloys, hazardous materials, and the quality of recycled components

The Recycling Process

Non-destructive dismantling is the first step in the recycling of airplanes. The passenger seats, engines, and other easily removed parts are first removed; eventually, only the shell is left. At that point, a sizable excavator destroys the enormous airplane shell. Once the various shell components have been reduced to minute fragments, they are moved on to the next stage of recycling.

A sorting process is necessary since there are many different kinds of metals and plastics that can be recycled. Aluminum and polymers are separated from iron and steel using a strong magnet.

All the materials are sorted accurately thanks to a last manual check. Each of these materials is directed to a different recycling stream after everything has been separated. Eventually, these recovered metals might be used as raw materials to make a variety of things.

Aircraft Recycling Challenges

The current generation of recycled airplanes was not developed with their end-of-life in mind. And even while the current generation of airplanes has given more care to recycling, there is still a long way to go before they are really sustainable.

Approximately 80% to 85% of an airplane’s weight can be recycled, according to businesses that store and disassemble aircraft. The leftovers are disposed of in landfills.

The main obstacle to recycling is found in airplane interiors, where the majority of the materials are either unusable or would be more expensive to disassemble and sort than they would be worth recycling.

Another issue is that airplanes are made of a variety of materials that are glued together, making them unsuitable for recycling.

It is crucial for the industry to finish up loose ends in this area because there are an increasing number of airplanes that are getting close to the end of their useful lives and an even larger number that is anticipated to enter the market in the next years.

The sector’s leading organizations all concur that advancement is required and have already indicated their willingness to work together.