ABSTRACT

Virgin and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has been examined for the production of composites with additions of 5-20% by weight of sand particles. Density and compressive strength were estimated using virgin (V-PET) and recycled PET (R-PET). Scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy was used to characterize the morphology and elemental composition of the composites. Also, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was used to find degradation temperature on both types of polymer. On the other hand, a streamlined life cycle assessment (SLCA) was made for the different composites to get environmental impacts. The results indicated that a maximum of 52.94 MPa and 52.03 MPa on compressive strength were obtained for virgin and recycled PET without sand, respectively. With the addition of sand, compressive strength decreases in both cases. The best performance was found at 5% sand addition, which causes a reduction of 9.07% and 16.68% for V-PET and R-PET composites, respectively. Environmental results show that resource extraction is the dominant life stage; meanwhile, gas residues are the dominant environmental impact in both types of composites. R-PET composites are the best environmentally friendly option because they used recycled material, which in return recovers part of the embodied energy used to make the primary production. The results show it could be explored the potential to be used the composites in pavement blocks or architectonic elements.