Plastics Engineering - March 2014 - (Page 22)
A Processing Study
Composites made with wood-based cellulose were found to offer
advantages in terms of molding cycle times, part weight, and more
By Mark Rosen
n the past few years, wood-fiber reinforced plastics,
sometimes called "thermoplastic biocomposites," have
generated considerable interest due to their renewable
features and potential for reducing dependency on petroleum-based feedstock. this article discusses the initial results
of an experimental study of Weyerhaeuser thrive™ composites, a nearly lignin-free, cellulose-filled polypropylene (PP).
(Weyerhaeuser is a global leader in sustainable forestry,
wood products, and cellulose fiber technologies; it owns or
manages more than 20 million acres of forestland in north
these findings showed that this material, at loads of 20%
and 30% cellulose, is a cost-effective choice for applications
requiring stiffness, faster cycle times, and lower part mass.
in fact, this material has passed stringent automotive standards and will be included in Ford Motor company's 2014
lincoln MKX crossover vehicle.
these initial tests demonstrate that thrive composites:
are rigid materials with a flexural modulus as high as
422,000 psi (2.91 gPa) at 30% fiber loading;
can reduce cycle time by up to 50%, or more, compared
to other resins and compounds with a similar modulus;
can reduce part weight up to 30%, compared to other
minimize surface sink and internal voids;
reduce sink and warpage, compared to other filled crystalline materials;
can lower energy costs due to lower molding processing temperatures and faster cycle times;
produce a more scratch-resistant surface than the base
polypropylene homopolymer material itself;
are not abrasive to tool steel; and
demonstrate excellent bonding strength for tPE overmolding and wood and plastic inlays.
Industrial bracket made
from 20% cellulose-filled PP
| Plastics EnginEEring | MarcH 2014 | www.4spe.org | www.plasticsengineering.org
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