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    Description

    The term wood-plastic composites refers to any composites that contain wood (of any form) and thermosets or thermoplastics. Thermosets are plastics that, once cured, cannot be melted by reheating. These include resins such as epoxies and phenolics, plastics with which the forest products industry is most familiar. Thermoplastics are plastics that can be repeatedly melted, such as polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Thermoplastics are used to make many diverse commercial products such as milk jugs, grocery bags, and siding for homes. Wood-thermoset composites date to the early 1900s. An early commercial composite marketed under the trade name Bakelite was composed of phenol-formaldehyde and wood flour. Its first commercial use was reportedly as a gearshift knob for Rolls Royce in 1916 (Gordon 1988). Wood-thermoplastic composites have been manufactured in the United States for several decades, and the industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. This article focuses on wood-thermoplastic composites, which are most often simply referred to as wood-plastic composites (WPCs) with the understanding that the plastic is a thermoplastic.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Clemons, Craig. 2002. Wood-plastic composites in the United States : the interfacing of two industries. Forest products journal. Vol. 52, no. 6 (June 2002): Pages 10-18

    Keywords

    Thermoplastic composites, wood-plastic composites, WPCs

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