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Wood Plastic Composites An Overview


Presentation Outline
O Introduction to Wood Plastic O O O O O O

Composites Historical Development Milestones in Commercialization Technology Status Benefits of wood plastic composites Applications Future markets & business opportunities

Wood Plastic Composite ( WPC )
Any composite that contains wood & thermoset or thermoplastic

Thermoset : Epoxy , Phenolics Thermoplastics: PE, PP, PVC, PS


First Generation WPCs

Recycled woodchips / flour & binder Designed for undemanding applications

New Generation WPCs

High Performance products Good mechanicals High dimensional stability Complex shapes Extruded products with high dimensional tolerance

The new generation WPCs are produced by mixing wood flour or fiber & plastics to produce a material that can be processed like a conventional plastic & has the best features of wood & plastic

Plastic Lumber
O Recycled Plastics O Extruded profiles O May / may not include wood flour

O Application Sleepers on rail roads

Historical Perspectives
O 1900 : Bakelite ( Gear shift knobs

for Rolls Royce) O 1920: Birth of the WPC industry

Marriage of plastic processing & forest products industry

Initial Impediments to Growth

O Forest Product Industry Viewpoints O Alien to Plastic materials O Few common material & equipment

suppliers O Only exposure to vinyl sidings O Lack of Market Knowledge & application areas O Plastic Industry Viewpoints O Conversant with mineral fillers & reinforcements O Aversion to wood & natural fibers

Wood as a filler: Plastic Industrys Viewpoints

O Low bulk density of wood flour vis-a

vis plastics ( 0.5) O Low specific gravity of wood O Low thermal stability of wood O Tendency to absorb moisture

The Turn Around The last decade saw

O Greater awareness from both sides O Success of several WPC products O Greater understanding of wood filler O Developments in compounding

equipments O Development in additives O Emerging opportunities in large volume building application sector

Forest Products Industry: Change in Perception

O WPCs :Products with little maintenance O Low maintenance : USP Of WPCs O Forest Product companies : Suppliers of


Synergize knowledge of wood flour & core competence in building products

Milestones in The Commercialization Of WPCs

Year 1975 1983 1990 1991 Company G.O.R., Italy American Woodstock Lear Corporation Strandex Corporation AERT Later TREX Product Woodstock patent 50% WF/PP sheets for thermoforming for auto interiors Highly filled WPC extruded profiles& shapes 50 % WF/PE for deckboards, picnic tables etc WF reinforced PVC sub sills for French doors & window lines


Andersen Corporation

Technology Status of WPCs

Market Potential O Global market size : 320,000MT in 2000 O Expected Volume : More than double in 2005

Wood Filled Composites

Natural Fiber Filled Composites

Technology Status Of WPCs Material Attributes


Virgin & recycled

Exterior building components Automotive Profiles Building profiles & decking & windows





Technology Status Of WPCs Polymer Attributes

Selection of Thermoplastic matrix

* Inherent properties of polymer * Product requirements * Availability * Cost

Technology Status Of WPCs Attributes of wood

O Wood flour : Particulate, l/d 2:1 to 4:1 O Wood fiber : Reinforcing, l/d greater O O O O

than 24:1 Commonly used species : Pine, Maple Oak Typical particle size : 10 to 80 mesh Price : Indian Rs. 15 to 20/- per Kg Price : Imported Rs. 35 to 45/-per Kg

Technology Status Of WPCs Manufacture & Processing

O Two stage Process: Compounded

pellets & shaping O Commonly Used processing Techniques Sheets & profile extrusion Thermoforming Compression Molding Injection Molding O New Trend In-Line Compounding & Processing

Salient Features of Extrusion of WPCs

O Two stage Process - compound & shaping O Two Extruders in tandem Twin screw

Compounding and shaping

Extrusion of WPCs

New Developments In Equipments

O American Maplan Corp : Counter rotating

TSE, conical & parallel for direct extrusion

O Woodtruder American Davis Standard (

Crompton): First Stage drying extruder & side arm extruder for injection of polymer melt into the main extruder. Up to 80 % wood flour
O Wilmington Machinery: 375 tons two stage

injection molding for foamed WPCs

Manufacturing Wood / PP Composites

Machinery For Wood PP Composites

Additive Developments Aid Growth of WPCs

O Tailor-made lubricants O Special HALS O Antimicrobials O Blowing agents O Colorants O UV stabilizers O Foaming agents

Wood Filled PP

Application Benefits
O Improved dimensional stability - increased strength O Lower processing temperatures - less energy used O Increased heat deflection temperature - reduced O O


thermal expansion Up to 30% reduced cycle time for injection moulded products - increased productivity Approximately 10 - 20% lower specific gravity - lighter products Reduced shrinkage - lower internal shear in pultrusion application Low volumetric cost

1.3 1.25 1.25 1.2




Conventional Fillers Vs Wood Filler

AWF Wood Flour Weight Savings Specific Gravity 40% Filled Resin Polypropylene

1.15 1.1 1.1 1.05 1 Wood Flour (AWF - 4020) Talc Calcium Carbonate Fillers Fiberglass

Flexural MOE (GPa)

Flexural MOE Versus % Wood Flour

5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 20 30 40 50 2.2 3.8 3.2



% Wood Filler

Wood Filled PP Products

Wood Filled PP Products

Wood Filled PP Products

Foaming Expands Possibilities For Wood Fibre / PP Composites

Foaming Expands Possibilities For Wood Fibre / PP Composites

Breakthrough Technology Plastic Steel from Wood Filled PP

O Expanded Oriented Wood filled PP
O Low temperature die drawing O Synthetic Hardwood Technologies USA O Automotive side beams

O Wood look alike

Product Modulus PP EOW PP

Flexural ( M Pa ) 1800 7585

Plastics Steel Die Drawing Makes From Wood Filled PP

Material Flexural Strength (MPa) PP Wood O-PP EOW-PP 48 96 276 138 1860 8946 7585 7585 Flexural Modulus

Ram extrusion of PP / wood filled creates light weight wood-like material, even stronger than wood

Wood Fibre Adds Stiffness & Value To Tight Tolerance Tubes

Polypropylene Developments
Wood Filled Repol PP for Door Trims

PVC / Wood Composites

Outlook For The Future

O USA: 50 % growth rate of WPCs for building

products O ASTM Standards for building products based on WPCs O Automotive : 15 % growth rate

Innovation in processing & product performance


The future of wood plastic composites will ultimately depend on many factors; including new product identification, product quality, consumer perception & performance of these materials !

O http://wpc-composite- O Clemons, C. (2002) "Wood-plastic Composites in the United States: The interfacing of two Industries" Forest Products Journal 52(6) O Introduction of WPC Wood Plastic Composite Products

Stark, N. (2001) Influence of Moisture Absorption on Mechanical Properties of Wood Flour-Polypropylene Composites. Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials 14 O Hamel, S. (2011) Modeling the Timedependent Flexural Response of Woodplastic Composite Materials Dissertation, University of WisconsinMadison O Morrell, J et al.(2006) Durability of woodplastic composites. Wood Design Focus 16(3)


cles/21-composite-vs-wood.html O O ml Washington State University Wood Plastic Composites Information Center, "Fire Issues in Engineered Wood Composites for Naval Waterfront Facilities", 46th International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, Long Beach, California, May 2001



Environmental News Network, "California Fire Codes Put Focus on Plastic Decking Concerns" 5 Nov 2007 Bibliography Anatole A. Klyosov. Wood-Plastic Composites. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2007, 698 pp. Asta Eder, Andreas Haider: Marktchancen fr Wood Polymer Composites im deutschsprachigen Raum. In: Holztechnologie. 52 (2011), S. 44-49, (online) Retrieved from "