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Technical Report #19 - Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic ...

Technical Report #19 - Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic ...

Graphs 4-8: Effect of

Graphs 4-8: Effect of Plastic Type on Critical Properties in Polypropylene,Polyethylene, and General Purpose Polystyrenewith Different Wood Loading Levels1200Bending Stiffness250Heat Deflection TemperaturesKpsi10008006004002000Unfilled 20%Wood40%Wood60%WoodDegrees F @ 264 psi200150100500Unfilled 20%Wood40%Wood60%Wood10 -5 Inches/Degree F109876543210Thermal ExpansionUnfilled 20%Wood40%Wood60%Woodpsi6000500040003000200010000Tensile StrengthUnfilled 20%Wood40%Wood60%Wood% Shrinkage2.221.81.61.41.210.80.60.40.20Unfilled 20%WoodMold Shrinkage40%Wood60%WoodPolystyrenePolypropylenePolyethyleneSource: Booklet promoting North Wood Plastics, Inc. Sheboygan, WI.28

Number 3 (PVC): Polyvinyl chloride is a versatile plastic with many industrial and consumeruses. In various forms it can be flexible, such as vinyl hose and automotive upholsteryfabric, or rigid, such as drain pipe and window lineals. PVC melts and processes around 350°F,and was one of the first plastics to find commercial use in wood-plastic composite materials. Itsuse in wood-plastic composites is still growing. The amount of post-consumer PVC packaging islimited to some household cleaners and some cooking oils. The relatively small amount of PVCin the waste stream makes it hard to justify separating it out for use in composites. This couldchange in the future with increased collection of construction waste such as flooring and siding.There is also some post-industrial recycled PVC that could find use in this application.The production and incineration of PVC releases dioxin into the environment. As youmight expect, the PVC industry claims that these amounts are incredibly small and do no harm.As you might also expect, environmentalists take the opposing position. PVC toys are under suspicionbecause certain plasticizers used in their production are known or suspected carcinogens.Number 4 (LDPE): Low Density Polyethylene is a very versatile high-volume resin thatis used in flexible packaging applications like film. Like HDPE above, many plastic grocery bagsare made from LDPE. Different grades of LDPE are injection molded into flexible lids of thetype used on coffee cans. Still other grades are blow molded into squeezable plastic containerslike mustard bottles. Another variation, known as LLDPE or linear-low density polyethylene, isused as shrink wrap. Like HDPE, LDPE melts and processes in the 350 to 400°F range, and isvery adaptable to use in wood-plastic composite materials. Trex, Inc. uses 50 to 60 millionlbs./year of LDPE film waste annually to make wood-filled plastic lumber.Number 5 (PP): Polypropylene is one of the most versatile consumer and industrial resins.It is widely used in automotive interior and underhood applications. Housewares are full ofPP from flower pots to patio furniture to flexible-reclosable containers used for food storage. PPis used to package yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products. It is listed as “possibly practicalfor composites” in Table 15 because although to date communities have rarely collected thismaterial for recycling programs, some communities are beginning to separate out these PP packagesfor recycling. PP is especially amenable to use with wood. Its first large commercial scaleapplication in a wood-plastic composite material was for automotive interiors, as noted elsewherein this report. Today wood-filled PP is also used for flower pots, tool handles, and agrowing list of consumer goods.Number 6 (PS): Polystyrene is a very versatile plastic that is often foamed and called“Styrofoam” which is also known as expanded polystyrene (EPS). Polystyrene melts and processesin the 350 to 400°F range, and is very adaptable for use in wood-plastic composite materials.Unlike PP, HDPE, or LDPE, polystyrene can be painted and glued (it’s the same plastic usedfor model airplanes).There are two main grades of PS. GPS, or general purpose polystyrene, is clear but quitebrittle. GPS is not normally used for wood-plastic composites. The other grade is HIPS, whichstands for high impact polystyrene. It is quite a bit tougher than GPS, but lacks clarity, and isusually used for wood-plastic composites. There is also a variation of these two called MIPSwhich stands for medium impact polystyrene.29

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