New market potential for Wood Plastic Composites by applications for injection moulding
Wood Plastic Composites (WPC) are materials consisting of a thermoplastically processable matrix and wood particles. The advantages of this material class are the availability and price of the wood particles, and the possibility of partially substituting the polymer in the mixture, which enables it to save on fossil raw materials. Furthermore this also is a way of using the wood particles in a more significant way than for energy applications, but for getting the possibility of producing tailor made materials for application.
The aim of the project was to find appropriate formulations for injection moulded Wood Plastic Composites. Recent research interest mainly dealt with extruded WPC, but application in the field of injection moulding shows added values in terms of freedom of design, complexity of the produced parts and processing. In the scope of the project, with the help of the project team, consisting of a raw material supplier, application oriented research and plastic processors, it was possible to develop a WPC formulation suitable for injection moulding on the basis of the knowledge base, which was worked on in the first stage.
Because the recipe is determining the mechanical and optical properties, as well as the processability of WPC, the necessity of knowing the relationships between formulation and properties emerges. This is the basis for knowledge based decisions on the right formulation for application itself. Further, demonstration parts have been manufactured, which enabled the project team to gain further insight into the injection moulding of WPC. Additional data from rheological tests will be helpful for future injection moulding tool designs, as well as the investigated thermal properties will determine the different possible fields of application.
Data about processing of WPCs, for example the maximum moisture content of the granules or the residence time of the material in the process in case of machine shutdown, have also been collected within the project, because these are the critical points for implementing a new material class in a production process. Due to the knowledge of these questions and the supply of adequate answers to these problems, producers will be thinking more open minded about using WPCs for their products.
The results generated within the project are the basic knowledge for future application, and are collected, discussed and resumed within this report. Additional competence is generated at the institute, which complements the expertise about extrusion of WPC with the knowledge about injection moulding of these materials. Furthermore these results enable the use of Wood Plastic Composites in different fields of application, which will lead to strategically and economically strengthened partners.
Dr. Christoph Burgstaller
Transfercenter für Kunststofftechnik (TCKT) - UAR
- DI C. Bandion
- DI V. Reisecker
- DI G. Schaffler
- Ing. A. Gösweiner
- Ing. H. Ladner
- Ing. K. Moser
- B. Edlinger
- F. Hartl
- C. Maticka
Project or cooperation partner
- Dr. T. Pham, Borealis Polyolefine Gmbh
- Ing. K. Eiweck, Intier Automotive Eybl GmbH (Ebergassing) & Co OHG
- Ing. H. Schulze, PPI Plastic Products Innovation GmbH & Co KG