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Individual Highlight

Wood-Plastic Composites Improved with Glass

Photo of Hollow glass microspheres in wood-plastic composites.  Rebecca Wallace, Forest ServiceHollow glass microspheres in wood-plastic composites. Rebecca Wallace, Forest ServiceSnapshot : Adding microsized glass particles to wood-plastic composites creates a less dense but stiffer material for use in a variety of building applications

Principal Investigators(s) :
Clemons, Craig M. 
Research Location : FPL
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 12


Wood-plastic composites are widely used, particularly in building applications. Two drawbacks of these composites, however, are their high density and low stiffness. In cooperation with 3M, Forest Products Laboratory researchers are adding hollow glass microspheres to wood-plastic composites, making them stiffer, lighter, and more easily fastened.

Wood-plastic composites combine wood flour, plastics, and small amounts of other materials to produce a composite with a favorable balance of properties. These composites are a major outlet for recycled film and are often used in exterior building applications including roofing, fencing, siding, window and door profiles, railings, and especially in decking. These materials are also more easily fastened using standard fasteners such as nails and screws.

Optimization of processing parameters was important to prevent the hollow glass microspheres from breaking under the high pressures used in producing these next-generation composite materials.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Baris Yalcin, Steve E. Amos, Andrew S. D�Souza, Troy K. Ista, and I. Sedat Gunes, 3M, St. Paul, MN

Program Areas