Improved Composites from Wood Flour and Mixed Plastics
Though separated plastics are often recycled, it can be technically difficult or uneconomical to separate certain combinations of plastics in the waste stream. For example, while wood-plastic composites are a major outlet for recycled polyethylene film, few have worked to increase the value of mixtures of recycled plastics by combining them with wood flour. These composites represent an opportunity for developing new, value-added outlets for mixed plastics and wood byproducts, as well as displacing petroleum content in plastic products if performance can be improved.
In a cooperative project with Louisiana State University, Forest Products Laboratory researchers have used crosslinking technologies, commonly used in the cable coating industry, to optimize the performance of composites of mixed plastics and wood flour. Significant improvements in performance were made with several composites nearly doubling their impact strength, for example. Continued optimization and outreach efforts are on-going to identify opportunities where this improved performance can be leveraged.
Forest Service Partners