Mariana E. Aboujaoude, Tyler D. Knoblauch, Christian Alexander Lohmeier, Zhuochen Shi



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As of 2015, the worldwide air transportation industry is expected to contain an estimated 10,000 aircraft ready for retirement. In order to offset the introduction of waste from aircraft disposal into landfills, as well as to cope with the depletion of natural resources, the recycling of airplanes is becoming more prevalent. Aircraft Recycling is a process of highly variable economic revenues. Often, the difference between having a loss and a profit is with the resale of aircraft parts, namely the engines. Recycling companies often have to charge the owner of an aircraft for the recycling process in order to make up for their labor costs, and at the same time, not all that could be recycled is actually recycled in practice. This study introduces the current processes associated with aircraft recycling and disposal. This study identifies current estimated costs and revenues behind the recycling and disposal of an aircraft and formulates a baseline. This study then introduces suggested improvements in specific waste streams (metals, parts, hazardous materials, insulation and aircraft lining, textiles, etc.) and the economics associated with these improvements. A cost-benefit analysis will determine economic feasibility of suggested improvements.

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Course Project

Primary Advisor

Jun-Ki Choi

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


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Arts and Humanities | Business | Education | Engineering | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Can Airplane Recycling Take off?