Pyrolysis is a suitable process for recycling polymer composites because the thermal decomposition products of the polymer matrix evaporate, and thus the reinforcement materials can be recovered and reused. The products of pyrolysis carried out at an appropriate temperature are monomers and other valuable chemicals. This chapter describes the pyrolysis reactions and products of frequently used thermoplastics and thermosets in polymer composites. Published results on pyrolysis of various polymer composites are discussed in order to understand the requirements of successful plastic composite recycling by pyrolysis. The environmental concern related to pyrolysis of flame retardants containing polymer composites is also touched upon and some methods are referred to for decreasing or eliminating toxic and harmful compounds from the pyrolysis products of halogenated flame retardants.
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