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Boeing partners with America's Cup team on composites recycling

US airframer Boeing (NYSE: BA) and America´s Cup yacht racing team Oracle Team USA said they are collaborating to recycle 7,000 pounds of carbon fiber of USA-71, a yacht built for the America´s Cup campaign in 2003.

The hull and mast of the racing yacht will be processed and repurposed, a first-of-its-kind effort for what will likely be the largest carbon structure ever recycled, the firms said.

Boeing and Oracle Team USA, working with research partners, said they will utilise a technique developed to recycle composite materials from Boeing´s 787 Dreamliner, which is 50% composite by weight.

The airframer said that composite materials allow a lighter, simpler structure, which increases efficiency, and do not fatigue or corrode. In yachts, composite construction also provides the ability to develop a lighter vessel that is stronger and stiffer at the same time.

Boeing and Oracle Team USA will work with the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and MIT-RCF, a South Carolina company specialising in repurposing carbon fiber components.

In 2006 Boeing began collaborating with the University of Nottinghamon carbon fiber recycling and they continue to work on recycling processes and technology to process the recycled fiber into new applications.

USA-71´s hull will be cut into 4-foot sections and the mast will be chopped into manageable pieces before it is processed; about 75% of the recycled composites will come from the hull and the remaining 25% from the mast.

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