Composite Plastics

Composite plastic materials such as glass-fibre reinforced polyester (Chapter 11) have physical properties which differ significantly from the individual component materials. An increasing variety of composite plastics are reaching the construction industry, driven by the demand for product diversity and in some cases recycling.

Wood plastic composites

Wood plastic composites (WPC) encompass a range of materials incorporating polymers such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) blended with wood waste from saw mills. Wood chips and saw dust are dried to 2% or 3% moisture and ground down through a hammer mill to wood fibres (<5 mm). Wood flour may be incorporated as a filler giving bulk to the product.

To produce the wood plastic composite, the prepared wood-fibre material and any filler is mixed into the molten polymer, either in a batch or continuous process. The components are then formed by injection moulding for items such as architectural mouldings. Extrusion or pultrusion, a combination of extrusion and pulling, are both used for continuous sections such as window profiles and decking.

Wood plastic composites for outdoor products such as decking, fencing and garden furniture can be manufactured using a proportion of recycled polymer and scrap wood, which potentially will reduce the quantities of these materials in the waste stream.

Wood plastic composites are resistant to rot and insect attack and incorporate pigments to prevent UV fading. Fire resistance is similar to wood of the same density, but can be improved by the incorporation of flame and smoke retardants during the manufacturing process.

Corian

Corian is a composite of natural minerals, pigments and acrylic polymer, which combine together to produce a highly durable and tough material, available in a wide range of colours. The proprietary product is frequently used for kitchen and other countertops as it can be moulded into complex forms and inconspicuously joined into single units with the base plastic composite.

Trash To Cash

Trash To Cash

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