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First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Allah, the almighty for his
mercy extended to me to complete this report manages each and everything soundly.

As a part of the fulfillment of honors’ degree from the department of Applied Chemistry
& Chemical Technology, Islamic University, Kushtia, project work is included as a unit
course. With a view to make the project report, I tried my best to collect required
documents and other essential requirements.

It is an immense pleasure for me to express my deepest sense gratitude and indebtedness

to my respectable supervisor S.M. Abdur Razzaque, Department of Applied Chemistry &
Chemical Technology, Islamic University, Kushtia, for his constant supervision and
inspiring guidance, active help, indispensable suggestions, proper directions and untold
kindness throughout the progress of this project profile. His technical knowledge had
helped me to prepare such quality of project profile and I shall remain so much grateful to
him. I really owe to him very much for giving me such an opportunity to work in close
association with his effort and guidance, otherwise it would be impossible for me to have
a successful completion of this dissertation.

Also I would like to express my deepest respect and grateful thanks to professor Dr. M.
Alauddin, professor Dr. M.A. Sattar, professor Dr. Bhupesh Chandra Roy, professor Dr.
Md. Shamsul Alam, Tanzima Parvin, Md. Mamun Al-Rashid and all other respected
teachers of Department of Applied Chemistry & Chemical Technology, Islamic
University, Kushtia, for their high co-operation and intellectual suggestions.


1. Abstract……………………………………..........................................................3
2. Introduction………………………………………………………………………4-5


1.1. Wood and it’s classification……………………………………………………...6

1.2. Structure of wood………………………………………………………………...6-10
1.3 Properties of wood………………………………………………………………..10-16
1.4. Chemical composition of wood………………………………………………….16
1.5. Wood polymer composite………………………………………………………..16-17


2.1. High density polyethylene (HDPE) wood-plastic composite & their properties..18-20

2.2. Modeling of wood composite……………………………………………………21-24

2.3. Development of thick mountain pine beetle (MPB) strand based wood

2.4. Wood-polymer composite using a binder based Polyurethane Recycling


2.5. Wood-Polypropylene composite & it’s temperature dependent behavior………39-53

2.6. Plywood & composite wood product industries………………………………...54-63
2.7. Medium density fiber board (MDF) production………………………………...63-65
2.8. Recycled wood plastic lumber composite……………………………………….65-68
2.9. Powder coating wood composite………………………………………………..68-72


3.1. Physical & chemical properties of some wood composites impregnated with Styrene
& Methyl methacrylate………………………………………………………………73-78


4.1. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….79
4.2. References……………………………………………………………………….80-81

1. Abstract:
A polymer wood composite material comprises a polymeric component,
wood flour, a coupling agent, a thermal stabilizer component, a
plasticizer, a foaming agent, and a pigment. Preferably, the composite
material exhibits better hardness than natural wood, as well as less water
absorption (< 5% by weight) and less thickness swelling (< 1%) than
natural wood when submerged in water for at least 24 hours, wherein the
thickness swelling is measured as a percentage of original thickness. The
composite material may be used to form a building component for use in
the production of furniture and buildings, such as a doorjamb. In
addition, a method of producing an extrudable mixture for an extrusion
process to produce a polymer wood composite material is disclosed,
wherein the method preferably does not include any pre-drying, pre-
treatment or pelletizing processes.

2. Introduction:
This article gives an extended introduction on the state of the art of wood modification
worldwide and then zooms on the variability in degree of formation of composite wood
products using pieces of wood. Wood is a three dimensional polymeric composite made
up primarily of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. These polymers make up the cellwall
and responsible for most of the physical and chemical properties shown by wood.
Various composite wood products are now employed which are preferred as engineering
materials because they are economical, low in processing energy, renewable, strong and
aesthetically pleasing. However, they may have some disadvantageous properties such as
biodegradability, flammability, changing dimensions with moisture contents,
degradability with UV light, acids and bases. Even though wood has been used as a
building material for ages there are still several uncertainties when it comes to design of
wood structures. Wood is a natural material with natural imperfections such as knots and
varying growing conditions that makes it more difficult to decide the strength of the
material. As a result of these imperfections a grading system was introduced to predict
the material properties. A further attempt to improve the quality of wood products was
done by combining wood from several trees of different qualities. This new ‘Engineered
wood product’, EWP, has an improved quality due to the spreading of imperfections over
a larger area or over several products. The most common EWP today is the glued
laminated timber, glulam beams. Thanks to its variety in length and shape this product is
today widely used. Timber has good properties in both tension and compression of the
fibres when compared to concrete for instance. Concrete has a low tensile strength that
would cause it to fail when loaded in bending if reinforcement was missing on the tension
side. The use of steel reinforcement bars in the concrete improves the tension capacity of
the reinforced concrete. Wood has the disadvantage of a low stiffness which cause timber
beams to a rather high deflection when loaded. This is often the limitation when using
timber beams as load bearing members. Another problem is that the deflection of timber
members increases with time. For the last decade several efforts to reduce the decrease of
stiffness has been made. Presence of moisture and especially moisture variation causes
the increase of creep deflection. This can be controlled with several methods of treatment
of wood.

The magnitude of deflection with time is probably directly related to the initial deflection
directly after load is applied. By reinforcing timber with material that has superior
qualities when it comes to short- and long-term stiffness, the behaviour after long time
could be improved and deflection could be reduced. It has been documented by Jobin,
Olga (2007) that reinforced timber could very well be improved in ultimate limit state.
The question is if these improvements could last over the entire service life of the
structure and if the long-term creep which effects timber could be reduced. Another
question that is of great importance for the future use of timber reinforcements is the
economic aspect of reinforced timber.

Now a distinction can be made between preparing various composite wood products by
treating them with different polymers. In all experimental treatments of wood, the
variability in the material plays a key role. This variability exists between species,

between growing areas , between individual trees, but even in wood of the same tree and
furthermore on an anatomical and ultrastructural level.

1.1. Wood and it’s classification:
Wood is a natural anisotropic material with variations in material parameters in different
directions. To be able to understand the behaviour of wood it is of great importance to
understand the composition of the material. Wood can generally be divided in to
hardwood and softwood. Examples of hardwood Oak, Ash, Cherry and Walnut.
Hardwood trees are generally angiosperms, plants produce seeds with some kind of
covering. Softwood on the other hand is often gymnosperms (conifers), with seeds
without covering that falls down to the ground. Typical softwoods are: pines, firs etc.

Fig.1 Timber from hardwood (left) and softwood (right), adopted from Blasset
1.2. Structure of wood:

1.2.1. Microstructure:
Every year trees has an annual
growth in both the longitudinal
and the radial direction.In the
radial direction the growth of
new cells expands the diameter
of the tree.

For softwood the growth of new

cells can be divided in two types
of new cell depending on the
growth time of the year.
Earlywood grows during spring
and early summer when both the
temperature and the moisture
content are high and the
conditions for growing are good.
These fast growing cells has a
thin cell wall and a large area of
lumen (air) which makes the
earlywood cells pale coloured and large. Latewood grows during late summer and fall
until the climate is to cold for any growth to take place. Due to less favourable growing
conditions the latewood cells have a thicker cell wall which makes the latewood denser
and dark coloured. Earlywood and latewood together makes one anural ring. Hardwood is
more varied and complicated in its anatomy than softwood. Most of the structural
concepts are analogue with softwood except that hardwood has a denser structure of
libriform fibres. Within this tissue there are long pores, often with large lumina.
Hardwood has thicker cell walls and smaller area of lumen then softwood generally has.
The difference between earlywood and latewood is not as extreme as for softwood. For
hardwood it is the diameter of the lumen that varies with the growing season. (Blass et al.
Ed., 1995)

1.2.2. Ultra structure:
Almost all species of wood have the same features of wood cells. Elementary fibrils
consist of cellulose formed into larger units. Several elementary fibrils together form
thread like entries called microfibrils. Microfibrils contain an estimated number of 100 to
2000 cellulose chains embedded in a matrix of hemicelluloses and enveloped by lignin.
(Blass et al. Ed., 1995)

Between all individual cells in wood there are a middle lamella (ML) which contains
lignin and pectic substances. The most outer layer of the cell is called the primary wall
(P). This layer consists of cellulose microfibrils which are arranged in an irregular
pattern. After the primary wall there is a secondary wall, this normally consists of three
layers S1, S2 and S3, Figure 2.2. In the very thin first layer (S1) the angle of microfibrils
has an average of 50-70°. In the second layer, which is rather thick compared to the other
two, the slope of microfibrils is about 5-20°. In tension of fibres this layer is the most
important one since most of the tensile force has to be taken by this layer. Closest to the
lumen core, layer (S3) has microfibrils with a smaller slope but not in a defined order. In
compression the S2 layer will act as a column. To prevent the layer from buckling the S1
and S3 layer acts as reinforcement since the microfibrils has a larger slope then the
middle layer. (Blass et al. Ed., 1995)

Figure-2.2. Cell structure of wood adopted from Nakano; ML- middle lamella, P-
primary wall; S1,S2 & S3- layers of secondary wall.

1.2.3. Sapwood and heartwood:

There are two types of wood tissue, sapwood and heartwood. Sapwood is the living part
that supports the trees with nutrition and water upwards. Heartwood has no influence on
the physiology of the tree but both sapwood and heartwood has influence on the
mechanical properties. (Bengtsson, 1997)
In most species a darker colour appears in the heartwood as an effect of incrustation with
organic extractives. This also results in a better resistance against decay and wood boring

insects. A loss in moisture content also takes place which leads to plugged vessels in the
wood. Heartwood looses most of its permeability and can not be chemical preserved in
the same manner as sapwood. (Blass et al. Ed., 1995)

1.2.4. Juvenile and reaction wood:

Juvenile wood is formed in the first 5-20 years of a trees life. Mechanical properties of
juvenile wood can differ a lot from normal wood. Especially the forming of short, thin
walled tracheids in the S2 layer makes the juvenile wood experience much greater
longitudinal shrinkage but also reduced strength and stiffness.

External forces acting on trees over long time will result in formation of reaction wood.
For softwood trees compression wood will be formed, while hardwood trees instead will
develop tension wood. Tension wood seldom causes any problems in timber engineering
but compression wood is of much greater concern. When growing in compression the
microfibrils in the S2 layer will develop a large slope of the micro fibrils, sometime as
large as 45°. Also the inner S3 layer will be missing entirely. This will cause great
longitudinal shrinkage and a greater density of the compression wood. This is not to be
confused with the improved mechanical properties the high density brings. High density
in compression wood will not improve the mechanical properties. Instead compression
wood has a tendency to break in a brittle manner when dried out. (Blass et al. Ed., 1995;
Bengtsson, 1997)


Softwood consists of hollow tubular cells organised in sequential earlywood,
transitionwood and latewood tracheids. In addition to longitudinally orientated tracheids
there are radially orientated ray cells. The main components in cell walls are cellulose,
hemicellulose and lignin. Cell walls are layered (M, P, S1, S2, S3) composite structures
with varying composition and orientation of structural units (elementary fibrils,
microfibrils). In the middle of two adjacent cell walls there is a middle lamella gluing
cells together and forming a double cell wall. Especially the arrangement of cellulose in
different layers has a strong impact on the mechanical and physical properties of wood.
In transverse direction the cell structure and its variation are important. Ray cells have
also an important effect on mechanical behaviour of wood substance. Pit pores are mainly
located in the radially orientated cell walls and they are essential to control liquid flow
between tracheids and ray cells but pits may also affect the strength properties.

1.2.6. Cellulose:

The crystalline cellulose is common in all lignified plant cell walls and the cellulose
content in wood is 40…55%. The longitudinal elastic constant of cellulose has been
theoretically estimated based on the molecular structure by several researchers. The
theoretical values have a large scattering from 56.5 GPa to 319 GPa. Sakurada et al. [35]
has measured the value 137 GPa for ramie fibres. Mark’s theoretical value 111.3 GPa is
the closest (17% lower) to the Sakurada’s value. The measurements and theoretical
analysis of Page et al. (1977) on black spruce fibres, Preston’s data (1960) as a function
of S2-fibril angle for sisal fibres and Cave’s [13,14] modelling indicated that the

Sakurada’s experimental value fits best to the modelling purposes. Salmén’s [35]
calculation results verified that the longitudinal modulus of cellulose is close to data
presented by Sakurada.

The only values available for the transverse stiffness (Ey, Ez) and shear modulus (G) are
theoretical ones. Most of the cell wall models are based on Mark’s [29] values (Ey =27.2
GPa, Gxy=Gyz=4.4 GPa, Gxz=6.6 GPa).

1.2.7. Hemicellulose:
Although cellulose is a dominating constituent (amount and orientation) affecting
longitudinal modulus of elasticity and strength of wood, hemicellulose and lignin are
important in the11/23 transverse behaviour. Hemicellulose content of wood is 20…25
%. According to Bergander et al. [6] properties of hemicellulose are dominating the
ransverse cell wall modulus. In the most of the cell wall models the value of 8 GPa in
longitudinal (Ex) and value of 4 GPa for transverse (Ey, Ez) modulus of elasticity have
been used in dry conditions. The longitudinal value and the effect of moisture are taken
into account based on Cousin’s [19] measurements. Transverse value is estimated
robably based on the lignin properties. Glass transition temperature of dry hemicellulose
is about 200°C and at room temperature it becomes rubbery at moisture content of 25 %

1.2.8. Lignin:
The lignin properties are based on the measurements by Cousins [18]. The modulus of
elasticity at dry state is 4 GPa and lignin is assumed to be isotropic. Bodig et al. [7] have
used value of 2 GPa. Commonly amorphous lignin is assumed to behave as an isotropic
material but according to Åkerholm et al. [49] aromatic units of lignin are not distributed
in the structure in an isotropic way. The properties of lignin depend on the moisture and
temperature. Glass transition temperature of dry lignin is about 200°C and in wet
condition it is 80-90°C.

1.2.9. Cell wall layers:

Cell wall consists of primary wall (P) and secondary layers (S1, S2, S3), (Figure 1). In
the middle of the two adjacent cells (double cell wall) there is also a middle lamella (M).
Thicknesses of cell walls (2…10 μm) and sizes of cells (porosity) affect the wood
density. The thickness of double cell wall affects also bending behaviour and buckling
resistance in transverse and longitudinal compression. S2-layer (thickness and micro-
fibril orientation) has strong effect on longitudinal properties. Differences between S1-
and S2-layer structure have been related to the failure modes observed in longitudinal
tension tests. Middle lamella and primary wall affect the transverse tension strength
especially at high moisture content and elevated temperature. The shear strength of
softwood in LR-direction is often limited by the properties of the middle lamella between
latewood-earlywood boundary. This might be due to the sudden change in the density of
wood causing more brittle failure type or due to the freezing defects.

According to Brooker there are not clear borders between cell wall layers and he pointed
out that it is commonly accepted that the change from one layer to another is smooth and

there is intermediate layers S12 and S23. In these layers microfibril orientation is
between those of main layers. Brooker referred to work done by Abe et al. and noted that
in S1-layer the microfibril orientation changes stepwise in a counter clockwise direction
from the outside to the inside, from roughly –45° to about +70° at S12 boundary. S2 has
microfibril angle from 20° to 0°. In S2-layer microfibrils are closely packed, but not in
the other layers. S2 forms 80…90 % of the double cell wall thickness. Sell et al. and Guet
al. observed that in S2-layer agglomerations of microfibrils are orientated radially.
Tangential thickness of agglomerations is 0.1…1 μm. However, according to the most of
the earlier and current studies S2 is layered tangentially.

1.3. Material properties of timber:

Material properties of wood are determined by several factors, e.g. density and moisture
content of the material. All properties are determined by the growing condition and what
type of tree that is used. Also the appearance of knots and defects will influence the
material properties.

1.3.1. Density
Density is the single most important factor that determines the mechanical behaviour.
Several mechanical properties are positive correlated to density; see Figure 2.3.(Hansson
& Gross, 1991)

Density is defined as

where m is the mass (kg) and V is the volume (m³). This can also be written as density
at specific moisture content ω (%).

Where 0 0 0 m , V and ρ are mass, volume and density at zero moisture content. ω β is a
coefficient defining the volumetric swelling with unit of percent of swelling per percent
of moisture change, Blass et al. Ed. (1995). Density of pure timber (only the cell wall and
not the lumen from the cell) is about 1500 kg/m³. This density is not relevant when
relating to timber for structural purpose. The most common definition of density is the
weight of the timber at 0 or 12 percent moisture content. In Eurocode 5 (1993) density is
given as the mass and volume at equilibrium at 20°C and a relative humidity of 65%.
Density is often compared to the width of one growth ring. This relationship is not really
clear and there is a great scatter in experiments with density and growth ring width. There
are several other factors influencing the density of wood. According to Hansson & Gross
(1991) these factors are:
• Temperature: warmer climate gives wood a higher density at a certain growth ring
• Moisture: dryer climate results in wood with a lower concentration latewood, and
therefore a lower density
• Stand concentration: stands with larger amount trees per area will grow slower then
culled stands. Culling results in a higher growth rate and therefore increased density •
Position in tree: wood at the same growth ring width has a higher density near the root of
the tree then at the top. Trees develop wood with higher density in parts with high strain
due to wind loads

• Fertilise: trees growing in soil with low amount of nitrogen can be fertilised to increase
the growth rate without decreasing the density
• Genetically properties: trees from same stand under same growing conditions but with
different genetically properties can have a great variety in density.

1.3.2. Moisture content

Wood has very good water transportation properties because it needs water to grow. After
the tree is cut down and sawn in to timber many of these water transportation properties
remain. Wood is a hygroscopic material which means that it absorbs and desorbs
moisture from the surrounding air. The moisture content (MC) in wood is therefore
dependent on the relative humidity (RH) of the surrounding air. Moisture in wood can
either be found as moisture in the cell wall or as free water inside the lumens. Increased
MC in the cell walls will decrease the mechanical properties of wood. This is due to
water penetrating the cell wall which will weaken the hydrogen bonds that hold the cell
wall together. Wood has a fibre saturation point of approximately 30% MC. In Figure 2.4
an example of how the MC varies with the RH for both absorption and desorption. There
are different curves depending of the type of wood and temperature of the surrounding
air. It takes a long time for wood to adapt its MC from the surrounding RH. Studies like
Bäckström (2006) show that for a timber stud with cross section dimensions 45x70 mm²
it will take up to 60 days to change the MC from 19% to 9%. After approximately two
weeks the surface has reached 9% in MC while the middle of the cross section is still at
15-16% MC. The change in MC throughout the cross section can be seen in Figure 2.5.

Variations of mechanical properties can be said to have a linear relationship for clear
wood in the range of an MC between 8% and 20%. In Table 2.1 the change in mechanical
properties per change in percent MC is shown. Some changes of the material properties
will not be as important for timber as it would be for clear wood. Several experiments
have been carried out to find out how mechanical properties varies with MC. Results
from these experiments show that the tensile strength of low quality wood is independent
of the MC while both bending and compression strength is highly dependent of the MC.
(Blass et al. Ed., 1995)

To ensure sufficient strength of the material there are three service classes defined in
Eurocode 5 (1993) depending on the RH of the surrounding where the timber is placed:
• Service class 1: is characterised by moisture content in the material corresponding to a
temperature of 20°C and the relative humidity of the surrounding air only to exceeding
65% for a few weeks per year
• Service class 2: is characterised by moisture content in the material corresponding to a
temperature of 20°C and the relative humidity of the surrounding air only to exceeding
85% for a few weeks per year
• Service class 3: climatic conditions leading to high moisture content then in service
class 2

1.3.3. Shrinkage and swelling

Moisture in air has such similarities as the substance in the cell wall that it can even
penetrate the almost non-porous wood material. Moisture finds its way into the wood cell
which pushes the microfibrils apart. When wood cells swells the volume of the lumens
stays constant. The volumetric swelling of the cell has the same volume as the moisture
absorbed. When moisture is removed from the cells shrinkage occurs in the opposite
manner as swelling. The shrinkage and swelling of timber are called movements. The
size of movement in timber is mainly dependent on the microfibrillar angle in the S2
layer. For normal timber the layer S2 has a rather small angle which causes small
movements in the longitudinal direction but greater movements in the transversal

direction. For juvenile and compression wood the transversal and longitudinal
movements are equal. Normally the movement in radial direction is ten times as large as
the movement in the longitudinal direction. The tangential movement is twice the
magnitude of radial movements.

Shrinkage and swelling can differ on both sides in sawn timber. This causes distortions.
This variation between the top and the bottom layer of a beam causes a curvature on the
beam, usually called spring or bow. (Kliger et al., 1994)

1.3.4. Duration of load

Wood loaded under a long period of time will experience an instant deformation right
after load is applied. With time creep deformations will develop in the loaded specimen.
Part of the deformation will be elastic and disappear right after the load is removed. The
other part is a plastic deformation that is due to viscous flow within the molecules that
leaves a permanent deformation.

Several studies have shown that with a stress level beneath the failure stress, longterm
effects can cause failure of wood, Figure 2.6. It has also been shown that longterm
loading does not affect short-term strength and elasticity if the long-term load is kept
underneath the proportional limits. For decreasing rate of creep failure due to creep will
not occur. (Hoffmeyer, 1990)

The most important of the early studies of long-term behaviour of wood is carried out by
Madsen in 1947 and 1951. He performed long-term bending test under constant load with
1x1x22” test specimens and could show that the relation between stress level until failure
and logarithmic time has a linear relationship. These curves are called “The Madison
Curve” and are still used today to define the duration of load capacity. (Hoffmeyer, 1990)

Duration of load is taken into concern in Eurocode 5 (1993) by dividing the load time in
to 5 categories:
• Permanent load has an accumulated duration of load for more then 10 years, for
example self weight
• Long-term load is defined as 6 months to 10 years, for example storage
• Medium-term load is defined as 1 week to 6 months, for example imposed loads
• Short-term load is duration less then one week. Wind, temporary load and snow load for
some countries
• Instantaneous load is usually accidental loads

1.4. Chemical composition of wood:

The dicotyledons, on the other hand, are composed of cells of more varying shapes and
sizes. Most dicotyledon cells are long and narrow, with pointed and closed ends – the
fibers. Other important constituents are the parenchyma and, in relatively small
quantities, the vessels that, in transversal cuts, are called pores. These cells have open
ends and are usually shorter than fibers, varying considerably in shape and size. Wood
cells are connected to each other through a cemented substance called intercellular layer
or medium lamella. A mature cell is made up of two layers: the primary wall – a thin
external layer, and the secondary wall – a thicker internal layer composed of three other
layers. The interior of the cell contains the cellular lumen which, in most mature cells, is
completely empty1.The main wall constituents of xylem cells are cellulose, hemicellulose
and lignin1. In addition to these structural components, wood presents inclusions of
organic and inorganic matter with high and low molecular weights.

1.5. Wood polymer composite:

1.5.1. Polymers:
Polymers are a large class of materials consisting of many small molecules (called
monomers) that can be linked together to form long chains, otherwise known as
macromolecules. Polymerization is the chemical process whereby monomers are joined
to form a polymer. Polymers are widely used in composites as fibers or as the matrix.

1.5.2. Wood-polymer composites:

Wood-polymer composites (WPC) result from the polymerization of liquid monomers or
oligomers already impregnated in the wood. Wood porous structure, composed of lignin,
cellulose and hemicellulose, is filled with a solid, plastic and fairly hard substance. In
principle, WPCs should display superior mechanical properties, dimensional stability,
greater resistance to chemical and biological degradation, and less moisture absorption
than non-impregnated wood. WPC production necessarily goes through two different
phases: impregnation with a monomer/oligomer, followed by its polymerization inside
the wood. Wood is impregnated injecting certain chemical products (liquids), which can
be done by immersion, vacuumimmersion and vacuum-pressure. In so far as
impregnation with natural resins is concerned, it is worth mentioning the improvement of
some physical properties of White Fig (Ficus monckii) impregnated with natural resin

from Jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril)11. The impregnated monomer/oligomer can be
polymerized through two different processes: by the incidence of radiation or by the
thermal decomposition of initiators. In thermal polymerization processes, the thermal
dissociation of initiators is the most commonly used method to generate radicals to start
the reaction. These initiators are compounds which decompose easily into free radicals as
temperature rises. The preliminary study carried out in Brazil presents few information
related to modulus of rupture and hardness parallel to grain, in Pinus Elliottii (Pinus
elliottii) specimens impregnated with methyl methacrylate. The results showed the good
potential of WPC but only now circumstances turned possible the research continuation.

2.1. HDPE wood plastic composite and some of their properties:

Historically, preservative-treated wood timber has been utilized for structural elements
within marine fender systems. However, as waterways have become less polluted, the
traditional wood members are subjected to increasing degradation generated by marine
borers. Furthermore, public concerns about water pollution in harbors have resulted in
restrictions on the use of wood preservatives. As a result, an alternative material to
replace the traditional wood material is required. The U.S. Office of Naval Research
funded this research project with the Department of Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Washington State University to investigate the feasibility of using a wood-
plastic composite material (WPC) as an alternative for components of fender systems.
Wood-plastic composite materials (WPC) have several benefits compared to the
traditional wood material. First, it is resistant to insects, marine borers and rot when used
for structural members. Without the preservative treatments, there is no environmental
impact. Also, reduced production costs make wood-plastic economical for many
structural applications. The information presented is High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
material development and the other is the use of Finite Element analysis software
ABAQUS to model the nonlinear behavior of the HDPE material. The experimental
testing was performed on extruded wood-based composite material, which was
approximately composed of 70% wood and 30% high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that
wood/plastic composites display a nonlinear constitutive behavior in hyperbolic tangent
form. This is known as HDPE wood plastic material.

2.1.1. The Properties and Mechanical Behavior of the HDPE Material:

In this case, the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) composite material was chosen to be
modeled. Specifically, the HDPE composite was composed of 58% maple flour
(American Wood Fiber #4010), 31% HDPE (equistar LB0100 00), 8% inorganic filler,
and 3% processing aids. For specimen tests, the HDPE material was extruded using a
conical twin-screw extruder (Cincinnati-Milicron CM80) and a stranding die (Lockyear,
Tensile, compression, bending and torsion tests were performed on small HDPE
composite specimens to determine its properties. Interested readers can find detailed
information on experimental methods from the reports of Haiar (2000) and Lockyear
(1999). Here, examples of testing specimens are given. Figure 1-1 shows typical extruded
wood/plastic hollow test sections, which were used in uniaxial and five-point bending

Figure1-1:Extruded wood/plastic
hollow section(left)
Figure1-2 shows torsion

The shear modulus used as input for the HDPE model
was obtained from torsion tests. Through the
compression and tension tests of small specimens, the
properties of the HDPE composite material have been
obtained. Stress strain relationships are similar in
shape, no matter how loads were applied. Such
relationships can be represented by a hyperbolic-
tangent function (Cofer, 1999):
σ = a tanh(bε ) ,……………………………….(1)
∂σ ab
= ………………………………(2)
∂ε cosh 2 (bε )
Also when ε=0
= ab = MOE (Modulus of Elasticity)………(3)
Here, σ and ε are uniaxial stress and strain, respectively, and a and b are constants. A
typical stress-strain relationship of the HDPE material is shown in Figure 1-3, which was
obtained when the load was applied in tension parallel to the material grain. From the
physical specimen tests, it was found that the HDPE composite material behaves
differently in tension cases versus compression cases with respect to different values of
tiffness and strength. One of the differences is the maximum strain, which is defined by
the onset of softening or fracture. Table 1-1 and Table 1-2 show the tensile and
compressive maximum strain values and hyperbolic tangent constitutive parameters.
Another interesting phenomenon observed is that the HDPE composites are quite flexible
in shear, with a shear modulus obtained from torsion tests. Table 1-3 shows the maximum
strain and strength values obtained from torsion tests.

From these experiment results, some constitutive assumptions were made for this
material model and they are given below:
1. The HDPE material model is appropriate for plane stress conditions.
2. The stress-strain relation obtained from test data of the HDPE material is known to be
nonlinear, and it appears to follow a hyperbolic tangent curve. All nonlinear effects of the
constitutive behavior are attributed to damage.
3. The orientation of the eigenvectors remains unchanged after damage initializes.
4. The damage variable for the shear mode is only available through the coupling of
damage variables for the normal eigenmodes.

2.2. Modeling of wood composites:
Engineered wood industry products are boards, panels and other composites which have
been manufactured by gluing. Traditionally these products have been developed based on
experience and experiments. Modeling research widens the use of physical models and
numerical simulation to the development of wooden composites, the areas of application
• Manufacture of plywood so that plywood boards would keep their plane form after
moisture equilibrium of various end-uses has been reached
• Drying of veneers to optimal final moisture content in terms of veneer characteristics
• Optimal manufacture of particleboard: correct raw material and chips to each end-use.
The research includes a wide experimental programme, and development of testing
methods. Different factors affecting the warping and twisting of plywood panels were
studied experimentally both in laboratory and on industrial scale. Most of the studied
factors of the raw material and production did not have an effect on the magnitude of
warping or twisting. The most important factors found were the difference of moisture
content of different veneers, which affected warping, and the slope of grain of the
veneers, which affected twisting.

2.2.1. Background
Dimensional stability and straightness are important factors affecting the usability and
quality of panel products. However, distortions of plywood panels have been observed
soon after manufacturing and during the storage and use of panels. The amount of
distortions is affected by the thickness and the lay-up of the panel, but the actual reasons
for warping and twisting are not well understood. There are large differences in the
behavior of individual panels. Drying of the veneers is a critical stage in plywood
production significantly affecting the product quality and wastage in the later stages of
the manufacturing process. A key issue is the control of final moisture content of veneers
and their distribution. At present, the control of the final moisture content, and of the
other drying quality factors depending on it, is somewhat inadequate, because there are
several contributing factors, and the drying process conditions and the effect of changes
in them are not well known. Thus, process control is largely based on experience, and no
systematic data are collected about the effects of controlling actions on the drying
machine operation. Particleboard characteristics are dependent on the quality of chips
(particles), glue, amount of glue and manufacturing conditions. Chip quality is affected
by the raw material, chipping method and screening. Development of better particleboard
and maintaining the product’s competitiveness on the market require better knowledge of
chip quality, quicker analysis methods, and especially, deeper knowledge of the
relationship between particles and particleboard to be able to correctly direct the
development of analysis methods.

2.2.2. Objectives
The objective of modeling exp.1 is to find out the reasons for twisting and warping of
plywood panels, to analyze the possibilities for preventing twisting and warping in
production, and thus to establish the preconditions for producing straight plywood at even

quality. The study focuses on the raw material and the moisture changes during the
production process, swelling and stresses in veneers and how they cause distortions in the
end product. The effect of the formation of the glue bond on the warping of plywood
panels is also studied. Numerical methods are developed for the determination of changes
in moisture content and swelling, as well as deformations caused by them. The methods
developed can be applied also to predicting deformations during the use in different end-
use conditions. The sample material is birch plywood panel. The experiment on the
drying of veneers (expt.2) aims to optimize the drying process in terms of total
productivity of plywood panel production. This leads to an optimal quality of veneer and
end product, minimal loss in the manufacturing process and low energy consumption.
Another objective is to create a simulation tool for generating drying models that lead to
production of high-quality veneer. The parameters used in the model are veneer moisture
and quality characteristics. In the experiment on particleboard (expt.3), the effect of
particles (chips) on the most important particleboard properties are defined. Usable
interpretations are looked for in order to better utilize the results of the methods used for
analyzing the chip characteristics. The most characteristic chip properties in terms of
particleboard properties are defined on the basis of the correlation between the chips and
the board. Key particleboard properties are modeled using the chip characteristics and
fast analysis methods are developed for these characteristics. Methods are developed in
order to better understand the most important particleboard properties in further
processing. The effects of raw material and chipping machine on particle characteristics
are also examined.

2.2.3. Results and discussion

The experiment on warping and twisting of plywood studied the effect of process
parameters on plywood deformation (warping and twisting) experimentally by varying
the selected variables in six test phases in laboratory and industrial scale. Most of the
studied raw material and production factors did not have any significant effect on
warping or twisting. The most important factor was the difference in veneer moisture
content, which affected warping and the slope of grain, which affected twisting. If the
veneers at the opposite surfaces of the panel had differences in moisture content, this
resulted in significant warping of the panel. When the two veneers next to each other at
the surface had a 3%difference in moisture content compared to the other surface, this
resulted in a 30 to 40% increase in warping as compared to a case where all veneers had
similar moisture content. The difference in moisture content above is that of individual
veneers before assembling or pre-pressing. After pre-pressing, during a 1 to 2-hour
period, the moisture content of the assembly stabilizes to a level of 12 to 15%, excluding
the surface veneers. After pre-pressing, it appears that little can be done to affect the
straightness of the panel. The slope of grain in the veneer varied between –7° and +9°.
The average value for different veneer qualities used was between 1.5°and 2.5°. When
the slope of grain was eliminated from the test veneers, the twisting of a laboratory panel
reduced to a third. In industrial conditions, similar improvement could not be reached.
This was probably because the slope of grain was limited in factory panels, on an
average, only to less than 1.5°, since the slope of grain of the veneers could not be
measured reliably in the production process. If the end-use moisture content of the panel
is assumed to be 7–8 % (RH 45 %), they should be produced to be as straight as possible

in this condition. This was attempted by using glue film with no moisture and veneers of
moisture content 6 %. When these panels were conditioned to 7 % moisture content, they
were as twisted as the other panels. The warping in film-glued panels was, however, very

To produce a straight panel, it is necessary that the veneers have an even moisture content
and a small slope of grain. This is particularly important for surface veneers and veneers
close to the surface. Reliable methods to measure and control the moisture content in the
veneers do exist. If, in addition to moisture control, the slope of grain of the veneers
could also be measured and veneers with a minimal slope of grain could be separated,
straighter panels could be produced. In the veneer drying experiment, the effects of wood
raw material and the drying process on the veneer characteristics were studied and a
simulation model for veneer drying was developed. A measurement device was
developed and made for studying veneer waviness (i.e. deviation of the veneer from the
plane). Drying was carried out both in a laboratory dryer and in an industrial dryer. On
the basis of the laboratory drying, the effects of changes in drying conditions were
studied with regard to tensile strength, waviness and adhesion, and a simulation model
for veneer drying was developed. On the basis of the industrial drying, the moisture
variations of veneers and factors affecting them were studied. In both laboratory and
industrial drying, the effects of the drying temperature and drying air moisture content on
the final veneer moisture content were studied. The wood species used in laboratory
drying were spruce and birch. In industrial drying spruce was used. With spruce veneer,
also the differences between sapwood and heartwood and the effect of veneer thickness
were examined. Veneers having undergone a different drying process had differences in
waviness and tensile strength. In waviness, there were differences in shape and height of
waves as well as in the force needed to press the waves down. The most significant factor
affecting tensile strength was final moisture content. The effects of the veneer drying
process on the veneer adhesion properties were studied by measuring the contact angles
with a water drop. Veneers dried under different process conditions had differences in
adhesion properties. The most important factor affecting adhesion was final moisture
content. On the basis of the industrial drying tests, the veneer final moisture content
variance is, as expected, affected by the initial moisture content variance and the average
final moisture content of veneers. Drying tests were also made on a paper machine press
felt during the development of the veneer drying simulation model. The drying of the
veneer has been simulated using the new model developed. In the particleboard
subproject, a laboratory method for analyzing particle length, width and aspect ratio on
the basis of optical image processing was developed. Also, new analysis methods and
parameters have been developed for particle size analysis used by the industry. The
method developed for characterization of chip surface is being tested. Further, an analysis
method for chip surface porosity important for further processing is ready or testing. The
so-called model chips used in the second phase of the study emphasized the effect of chip
screening on particleboard properties. The differences between the chips were increased
according to the raw material and chipping method used. It seems that the sorting method
influences the quality of the chips. The modeling of the correlation between particleboard
and chip characteristics is being completed. On the basis of the results received, key

characteristics of chips seem to be related to whether the emphasis is on particleboard
strength or surface properties.

2.2.4. Capabilities generated and utilization of results

The results of the plywood part of the study can be utilized in the industry manufacturing
birch plywood for demanding end uses, where the dimensional accuracy requirements are
high. Such end uses are to be found in furniture manufacturing and in laser cutting of
plywood. The users of the results are Koskisen Oy, Finnforest Oy and Schauman Wood
Oy. The results can, however, best be utilized only if the veneers can be screened on the
basis of the slope of grain. A follow-up study is suggested on this subject. The research
group is now capable of mathematically simulating veneer drying. The industry
manufacturing veneer drying equipment can use the results in designing next-generation
drying machines.

2.3. Development of Thick mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) Strand Based

Wood Composites:
Glues have been around for a long time; the ancient Egyptian used them in veneering the
treasure of Tutankamun and the ancient Greek word for glue is κоλλα, from which we got
colloid. In all centuries up to and including the 19th glues originated from plants and
animals; during the 20th century synthetic chemical have largely taken over and the more
respectable name of adhesives has been introduced. Adhesion is essential for printing
inks, sealants, and paints and other surface coating, and at interface in composite
materials such as steel or textile fibers in rubber tyres and glass- or carbon fibers in
plastics. Mother natures uses adhesion rather than mechanical fasteners (nuts and bolt,
nails staples, etc.) in constructing plants and animals, and some animals are masters at
exploitation of adhesion. Adhesives are not the only materials that must stick or adhere.
A definition for adhesive is a material which when applied to the surface of materials can
join them together and resist separation. The term adherent and substrate are used for a
body or material to be bonded by an adhesive. Adhesive must wet the surface, spread and
make a contact angle approaching zero. Intimate contact is required between the
molecules of adhesive and atoms or molecules of the substrate in the surface. The
adhesive must then harden to a cohesively strong solid. This can be by chemical reaction,
loss of solvent or water or by cooling in the case of hot melt adhesives. Nowadays
adhesives are used in all types of manufacture, in the construction of aircraft or plywood
and in many cases have displaced other means of joining. The use of adhesives is a daily
occurrence in many wood-processing industries as well, such as in the particleboard,
plywood, and finger joints field. Adhesion is an important physicochemical phenomenon
that has attracted considerable attention from many researchers in many fields of science.
Advantage of adhesives as a mean of joining is that they are generally weakened by water
and its vapor. Also, their service temperature ranges are less than for metal fasteners,
being limited by their glass transition temperature and chemical degradation. Advantages
include their ability to join dissimilar materials and thin sheet materials, the spreading of
load over a wider area, the aesthetic and aerodynamic exteriors of joints and application
by machine. Any materials that are bound to each other by an adhesive form a system

that includes adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is established between two surfaces due to
intermolecular forces whereas cohesion is the bonding of molecules together in the bulk.

Adhesion refers to the interaction of the adhesive surface with the substrate surface. It
must not be confused with bond strength. Certainly if there is little interaction of the
adhesive with the adherent, these surfaces will detach when force is applied. However,
bond strength is more complicated because factors such as stress concentration, energy
dissipation, and weakness in surface layers often play a more important role than
adhesion. Consequentially, the aspects of adhesion are a dominating factor in the bond
formation process, but may not be the weak link in the bond breaking process. It is
important to realize that, although some theories of adhesion emphasize mechanical
aspects and others put more emphasis on chemical aspects, chemical structure and
interactions determine the mechanical properties and the mechanical properties determine
the force that is concentrated on individual chemical bonds. Thus, the chemical and
mechanical aspects are linked and cannot be treated as completely distinct entities. In
addition, some of the theories emphasize macroscopic effects while others are on the
molecular level, Thus, the mechanism of adhesion can be different for various materials.
In general the principal theories describing the phenomenon of the adhesion are the
Mechanical Entanglement/ Interlocking theory
Diffusion theory
Electronic theory
Adsorption/Specific Adhesion theory And the covalent bond theory.

Adhesives may be defined as any substance capable of attaching materials together by

means of surface attachment. This property is not necessarily an intrinsic characteristic of
the substance itself since the adhesive may be much weaker than the materials joined
together, but it is developed as the adhesive interacts with the adherends under certain

conditions of temperature and pressure. Most observations of adhesive interaction with
wood are concentrated on scales of millimeter or larger. However, the wood-adhesive
interaction needs to be evaluated in three spatial scales (millimeter, micrometer, and
nanometer). The millimeter or larger involves observations by eye or light microscopy.
The use of scanning electron microscopy allows observations on the micrometer or
cellular level. On the other hand, the size of the cellulose fibrils, hemicellulose domains,
and lignin regions are on the nanometer scale. The nanometer level is also the spatial
scale in which the adhesive molecules need to interact with the wood for a bond to form.
Tools, such as atomic force microscopy, developed for making observations on the nano
scale can be difficult to use with wood because its surface is rough on the micrometer
scale. For the most part, adhesives used to bond wood together may be separated into two
distinct groups, those adhesives such as animal, vegetable, casein, and blood glues which
are formulated from materials of natural origin, and those adhesives which are based on
synthetic resins derived from petroleum, natural gas, and coal, i.e., products of the
petrochemical and related industries. The properties of various adhesives are discussed
below separated according to these two categories, natural and synthetic adhesives.

Natural adhesives have been replaced in many uses by synthetic polymers; but animal
glues, starches, gums, cellulose and natural rubber cements continue to be used in large
volumes. Organic adhesives derived from animal proteins made from collagen,
constituent of the connective tissues and bones of mammals and fish; blood albumen
glue, used in the plywood industry; and glue made from casein, a protein constituent
milk, are employed in wood bonding and in paint. Vegetable adhesives include starch and
dextrin derived from corn, wheat, potatoes, and rice used for bonding paper, wood, and
textiles. Gums such as agar and algae when moistened provide adhesion for such
products as stamps and envelopes.35,36 The five groups of natural adhesives considered
Animal Glues:
Vegetable based adhesive-
Protein based adhesives-Soybean and Casein:
Flavonoids wood based adhesive-Tannin: and
Wood based adhesive- Lignin:

2.3.1. Synthetic Resin Adhesives

Synthetic resins are man-made polymers which resemble natural resins in physical
characteristics and can be tailored to meet specific woodworking requirements. These
resins impart to glue lines and joints the highest water resistance attained to date. In
contrast to the natural adhesives which at the best can resist only a moderate amount of
moisture, properly formulated synthetic adhesives appear able to withstand repeated
direct wetting. Synthetic resins were introduced as woodworking adhesives during the
early 1930's. Synthetic resin adhesives are separated into two distinct categories
thermosetting adhesives and thermoplastic adhesives. Thermosetting adhesives during
cross-linking reaction, undergoes an irreversible chemical and physical change which
render them insoluble. Thermoplastic resins are pre-polymerized and set by loss of
dispersing solvent. They do not undergo a chemical cross-linking reaction while curing,
therefore, remain in a reversible state and can readily be softened by heating.

Development of Thick MPB Strand Based Wood Composites:

2.3.2. Thermoset Adhesive

Urea-Formaldehyde (UF): Urea-formaldehyde resins are the most important and

probably the most widely used thermosetting resin for wood. UF resins are polymeric
condensation products of the reaction of formaldehyde with urea. Urea is reacted with
formaldehyde, which results in the formation of addition products such as methylol
compound. Further reaction and the concurrent elimination of water leads to the
formation of low molecular weight condensate UF that is still soluble in water. Higher
molecular weight polymer, which are insoluble are obtained by further condensing the
low molecular weight of UF.44 The reaction between urea and formaldehyde is complex
and combination of these two chemical compounds results in three dimensional network
in cursed resin. This is due to functionality of four in urea and functionality of 2 in
formaldehyde. The most important factors determining the properties of the reaction
products are the relative molar portion of urea and formaldehyde, temperature and PH

The rapid initial addition reaction of urea and formaldehyde is followed by a slower
condensation, which results in the formation of polymer. The rate of this condensation
polymerization of urea is PH dependent and decreases exponentially from a PH of 2 to 3
and to neutral PH value. No condensation occurs at alkaline PH values. It is very
important in the commercial production of UF resins to be able to control the size of the
molecules by condensation reaction, since their viscosity increases continuously as they
grow larger. The most common method for the preparation of commercial UF resin
adhesive is the addition of a second amount of urea during the preparation reaction. This
consists of reacting urea and formaldehyde in more than equivalent proportions.
Methylolation can in be carried out in much less time by using temperature of up to 90 to
95 °C. The reaction is completed under reflux by increasing the PH as soon as right
viscosity is reached.45 The advantage of UF adhesives are given below-
1) initial water solubility, 2) hardness, 3) no flammability, 4) good thermal properties, 5)
absence of color in cured polymers, and 6) easy adaptability to a variety of curing

They are widely used for the manufacture of interior grade plywood and also for the
manufacture of particleboard. In particular, they are extensively used in producing
hardwood plywood for furniture and interior paneling and for furniture assembly. Urea-
formaldehyde resins may also be fortified with melamine resins to improve both their
moisture and temperature resistance.

Melamine-Formaldehyde (MF): The condensation reaction of melamine with
formaldehyde is similar to but different from the reaction of formaldehyde with urea. As
with urea, formaldehyde first attacks the amino groups of melamine, forming the
methylol compounds. However, formaldehyde addition to melamine occurs more easily
and completely than addition to urea. The amino group in melamine easily accepts up to
two molecules of formaldehyde. Thus complete methylolation of melamine is possible,
which is not case of urea. Up to six molecules of formaldehyde are attached to a molecule
of melamine. Because melamine is less soluble than urea in water, the hydrophilic stage
proceeds more rapidly in MF resin formation. Therefore, hydrophobic intermediates of
the MF condensation appear early in the reaction. Another important difference is that
MF condensation to give resins and their curing, can occur not only under acid
conditions, but also under neutral or alkaline condition. The mechanism of the reaction of
ethylol melamine to from hydrophobic intermediate is the same as fro UF resins, with
splitting off of water and formaldehyde. Methylene and ether Bridge are formed and the
molecular size of the resin increase rapidly and final curing process transforms the
intermediate MF to insoluble resin.

Melamine resins are used primarily to improve the moisture resistance of urea resin
adhesives. In this respect, they are substantially more resistant than urea resins but not as
resistant as phenol and resorcinol resins. Melamine resins must be cured at temperatures
of at least 240° F for most applications. They are also quite expensive relative to the urea
resins. These two factors have limited the use of straight melamine-resins to a few special
applications such as marine plywood where the need for a light-colored water-resistant
adhesive justifies their cost.

Phenol-Formaldehyde (PF): Phenolic resins are poly-condensation products of

phenol and aldehyde particularly formaldehyde. Phenolic resins are the first true synthetic
polymers to be developed commercially. In initial attack, poly-functional phenols may
react with formaldehyde in both the ortho and para positions of the hydroxyl group. The
second stage of the reaction involves the reaction of methylol groups with other available
phenol or methylol phenol, (fig.6) leading first to the formation of linear polymers and
then to the formation of hard-cured highly branched structures.

Figure 6: Phenol-formaldehyde chemistry involves first formation of the
hydroxymethyl group, followed by partial polymerization to the oligomer that
makes up the adhesive. After applying adhesive to the substrate the polymization is
completed to form a cross linked polymer network

PF-resins are classified into two groups: Resols and Novolaks. Resols are made by base
catalysis (caustic, amine) with an excess of formaldehyde cutting off the reaction at a
certain condensation degree where PF resins are still liquid or soluble. The curing is done
by heating and/or addition of catalysts. In the case of Novolaks the poly-condensation is
brought to completion. The molecular growth is limited by the low molar ratio F/P (<1).
Novolaks can be cross-linked by adding of curing agents such as formaldehyde and
hexamethylenetetramine. The difference between acid and base catalyzed process is in
the rate of aldehyde attack on the phenol, in the subsequent condensation of the phenolic
alcohols and to some extent in the nature of the condensation reaction. With acid
catalysis, phenolic alcohol formation is relatively slow. Therefore, this is the step that
determination the rate of the total reaction. The condensation of phenolic alcohols and
phenols forming compounds of the dihydroxydiphenylmethane type is, instead, rapid.
The latter are therefore predominant intermediate in novolak resins.The application field
of PF-resins is wide spread. Phenol-formaldehyde resins are widely used to produce
softwood plywood for severe service conditions. These resins are dark reddish in color
and are available as liquids and powders or in film form. Their use is almost mandatory
in plywood to be used in severe service conditions. Most types used in the United States
are alkaline catalyzed. Acid catalyzed systems are also available, primarily for use at
curing temperatures of 70° to 140° F, but are used little in the United States. Principal
limitation is the possible damage to wood by the acid catalyst.

Isocyanates: The isocyanate group reacts with any hydroxyl group to form a urethane
bridge. The reaction between isocyanate and hydroxyls extends to water, which the
isocyanate group reacts readily with the liberation of carbon dioxide and simultaneous
formation of substituted urea groups.

As primary and secondary amines are the other favorite group with which isocyanate
react, the amine formed by the reaction above reacts immediately with additional
isocyanate to form a substituted urea as follows:

The secondary amine groups present in the urethane bridge and in the substituted urea
formed react further with available iso-cyanate groups to continue cross-linking and
hardening of the material by the formation of allophenate and biuret bridges:

As to reach R belongs at least two –NCO groups, a hard, cross-linked network is formed

Isocyanate based adhesives were first used in the 1940's, but their high cost, along with
technical difficulties and associated health hazards, largely prevented their commercial
application. Technical improvements (copolymerization), along with the demand for
board products which are totally free of formaldehyde emissions, subsequently lead to the
use of isocyanate binders for particleboard manufacture.

Many numbers of co-polymer of polymeric di-isocyanates (MDIs) with a variety of other

resins exist to yield thermosetting wood adhesive with excellent performance. These
copolymers decrease cost, toxicity, ease of handling the resins and use for plywood.
Some of these di-isocyanate copolymerized resins are MDI-PF, MDI-MF and MDI-UF.
They have excellent resistance to moisture and hence are well-suited for exterior

In addition to wood, isocyanates may also be used to bond agricultural cellulosic. The
basic bonding mechanism consists of forming urethane bridges with the hydroxyl groups
of the cellulose. This results in an extremely strong wood to adhesive bond, which is
resistant to moisture. Isocyanates are also used to assemble glues, but the cost of the
adhesive limits their use at the present time.

2.3.3. Thermoplastic Adhesives

Polyvinyl Acetates (PVAc): The synthesis and patenting of vinyl acetate monomer by
Dr Fritz Klatte in 1913 (fig. 8), in Germany, provided the foundation for many valuable
and now essential plastic products. He found that the catalyzed reaction of acetylene with

acetic acid gave a polymerized low boiling liquid (vinyl acetate) to yield a potential range
of dense solid materials. These are now often denoted as PVAc polymers. Klatte found
that PVAc was compatible with other polymers and plasticizers which could give
valuable adhesives and coatings for cellulose and textile products

Figure8- Polyvinyl Acetate

Polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) is an important type of industrial glue. Also in the wood
working industry the direction is toward industrial use of glued materials and
construction instead of nailing or screw joints. The most rapid development is taking
place in the building product area, where a more efficient joining technique is needed.
The use of glued-laminated timber (glulam), particle, and fiberboards (MDF, OSB) is
becoming increasingly popular. Wood is also extensively used as curved laminated
veneer in furniture. The properties and durability of adhesives exposed to different
climates are becoming more and more important. However, polyvinyl acetate is
nonresistant to moisture and if such adhesive joints are exploited in moist environment its
strength substantially decreases. Sufficiently moisture resistant adhesive joints are
obtained by modifying PVAc dispersion with special compounds characterized by high
reactivity. Such monomers have chemically active groups with the aid of which spatial
structures of molecules are formed. Polyvinyl alcohol is known as having high reactivity
with hydroxylic groups, including polyvinyl acetate, acting as netting agents. They are
applied seeking to reduce the solubility of poly(vinyl alcohol), to change OH groups by
hydro-phobic ones, to make induce the netting of molecules. Other example, as
modifying the dispersion additive is suggested monoaldehyde-formaldehyde. However,
the drawback of this method lies in free formaldehyde in isolation of a poisonous
substance from adhesive joints. There is another method to modify PVAc dispersion by
dialdehyde – glyoxal, which is an expensive product. Other substances to modify PVAc
dispersion are known as well, such as isoprophylene alcohol, iron trichloride, potassium
bichromate, butyl acrylate, methyl methacrylate, alkoxysilane, polyisocyanate.


A new type of binder for wood particles or fibres was developed using a recycling polyol
from polyurethane wastes and a polyisocyanate as raw materials. The binders developed
with various ratios of hydroxyl and isocyanate groups are solid at room temperature with
melting points between 45and 80 C. Sand2O o of these were added to wood products and
this mixture compression moulded to give the composites materials Composites based on
wood and various binders are frequently used in design and construction where a broad
range of properties is established both by the type and shape of the wood particles and the
binder used [1]. Phenolic resins, urea formaldehyde resins, acrylates, epoxies or
polyurethanes are used as binders [2-5]. Recent developments favour aqueous
dispersions of acrylics or polyurethanes instead of urea or phenolic resin due to the
supposed elimination of formaldehyde from these polymeric binders. In another
application polyisocyanates are used as liquids and directly combined with the wood
particles in a spray and pressing process [6]. Handling of the polyisocyanates and their
use in a spraying process constitutes always some safety problems. In the present paper
we report another opportunity of such processes by the use of specially developed solid
and easy and low melting polymeric binders with multitude of reactive groups. The
process is based on the development of two new types of reactive precursors, i. e.

• specially designed polyol components derived from industrial polyurethane wastes and
produced by a new solvolysis process ;

• solid, low melting isocyanate containing prepolymers with free isocyanate groups being
stable over at least one year and containing catalysts to promote the reaction of the
isocyanate and hydroxyl groups of the wood. The process to produce the composites is
based on the properties of the solid prepolymers and is applied in the following stages:

• mixing of the powdered prepolymer with the wood particles in the appropriate
proportion in a dry process;

• forming the mixture to the shape and magnitude of the composite intended;
• applying pressure and temperature to the mixture in a mould

The preparation of the reactive intermediates and the process to produce such composites
of various properties and fields of application is described below:

2.4.1. Experimental materials:

Dipropylene glycol (DPG) was obtained by Fluka AG and used without further
purification, polypropylene glycol 2000 was a gift of Elastogran AG, Germany, di-n-
butyl amine (DBA) was purchased from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and used
without further treatment. The polymeric 4,4’-diphenylmethane diisocyanate
(Lupranate® M20S) was a gift from Bosig Baukunststoffe GmbH. The types of

polyurethanes used were samples from producers of Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland,
USA, Bulgaria, or Portugal. For the experiments to follow, mainly high resiliency foam
(HR foam) of a German producer was used.

2.4.2. Method to obtain a recycling polyol—

The composition, the reaction condition and the characteristics of the recycling polyol are
given in Table 1. The polyol was derived from flexible polyurethane foams by solvolysis
[7]. The experiments were performed in a three necked glass flask with stirrer,
thermometer, reflux and solids inlet. The liquids were placed into the reactor, heated to
180C, and the PUR foam was introduced with stirring as fast as possible while the
temperature was slowly increased to the final reaction temperature of 220C and was kept
after completion of the addition for another 30 minutes. The reaction mixture was cooled
down, recovered and subjected to analysis for determination of the hydroxyl number
(DIN 53 240), amine number (DIN 16 945) and viscosity (DIN 3219) using a Rheo Stress
300 (Haake GmbH). The polyol was used without further purification.

2.4.3. Method of obtaining of prepolymers--

The preparation of the prepolymers [8] was performed in a stainless steel vessel with oil
heating mantle, stirrer, nitrogen inlet, column, condenser, and bottom outlet. The
polyisocyanate was introduced into the vessel, nitrogen applied for about 5 minutes and
the temperature raised to 45C. The polyol was added in steps not to exceed a temperature
of 80C. After completion of the addition, the temperature was kept at 80C for three hours.
After this phase, the prepolymer was recovered from the vessel by recovering through the
bottom outlet onto Teflon® coated steel plates and cooled to ambient temperature. After

conditioning for 24 hours it was milled using a lab mill to receive a powder with average
particle diameter of less than 1 mm. The main parameters of prepolymers thus obtained
are presented in Table 2. The isocyanate content was determined according to DIN 53

The prepolymers obtained were used without further treatment. Under ordinary
conditions they are stable up to two years.

2.4.4. Method of obtaining and characterisation of the composites --

Composites were prepared using a two-step process. The first step was mixing the wood
particles with the calculated amount of powdered prepolymer in a drum. In the second
tep the mixture was placed into a mould (100 / 200 / 20 mm). The mould with the
mixture was heated to the desired temperature of moulding and the predetermined
pressure applied by a lab press type RSR 200 for the time given. After cooling the mould
to 50CC the composite was removed. Mechanical tests, i. e. tensile strength, elongation
at break, elastic modulus, ere performed ith a Zwick Z20 Universal prófmaschine (DIN
EN 527-1) after conditioning the samples for seven days at room temperature. Melting
points were determined using a Netzsch DSC 102 with a heating rate of 1 K/mm between
—100 and +200 C.

Now, from the above discussion, we can see that The polyols used in this investigation
were recycling polyols derived from HR foams. Their characteristic parameters are
depicted in Table 1. They generally have a completely different structure and
composition as virgin polyols and, hence, unique properties. Consequently, also the
polyurethanes produced on their basis will have mechanical or thermal properties which
differ from such polyurethanes being produced from ordinary polyols. The main
components of the recycling polyols are:

• the polyether polyol originally used to prepare the polyurethane (main component),
• any short chain glycol, e. g. poly(ethylene glycol) 600 used in the formulation,

• all catalysts used, i.e. tertiary amines and tin compounds (the latter are fully active),
• silicones used as cell stabilizers,

• the short chain glycols of the reaction mixture,

• co-hydroxyl-urethanes from the trans-esterification of the hydroxyl component at the

urethane group,

• trisubstituted polyureas derived from the originally used isocyanate and the amine used
in the reaction.

The recycling polyols constitute thus a mixture of various components which were
controlled only by the composition of the solvolysis mixture. One essential feature is that
the originally present isocyanates were first reacted to the urethanes and by the solvolysis
process converted to trisubstituted polyureas with chain length up to several nanometers.
These form a kind of nanofillers with some reactive (amino) groups left. They will
further react with any isocyanate added. The catalysts originally present are further fully
active in the mixture. This could result in instable liquid prepolymers leading to gelation.

The properties of the recycling polyol (BP 1), e.i. hydroxyl number 301 mg KOH/g,
amine number 53 mg KOH/g, viscosity at 25CC 3810 mPas are suitable for preparation
of solid prepolymers. The hydroxyl and amine content are balanced to the amount of
isocyanate to be used to establishe the melting areas useful in further processing

The prepolymers prepared (Table 2) are powders stable at room temperature. They have
an isocyanate content in the range of 4.87 to 11.28 mass The prepolymers still contain
the catalysts of the original polyurethane which are fully active as are the isocyanate. It
was found that the prepolymers are nevertheless stable at room temperature in a closed
container up to two years. Their high reactivity toward hydrogen-active compounds
together with the low melting point is of advantage in producing composites from natural
resource of various kinds. The prepolymers were prepared at constant conditions reaction
so as to measure the effect of the composition on the properties. In this series, the melting
peak (determined by DSC) shows a minimum at an isocyanate content of 8.36 mass at
about 50°C with increasing values to both lower and higher isocyanate contents reaching
in both cases about 65°C. The determination of the melting peaks was rather complex due
to the complicated structure of the material having a great number of different species
with melting ranges between —65CC (glass transition of the polyurethanes derived from
the polyether triol) and +250C (melting point of the polyureas of MDI). The second peak
observed usually in the range of 1 30CC degrees maybe attributed to the lower chain
length co-isocyanato-oligourethanes of the glycols

It is essential to keep in mind that despite of various ratios of hydroxyl and isocyanate
groups the prepolymers exhibit similar melting points and melting behavior and, thus,
having very little effect on further processing conditions. The prepolymer PP 1-3 was
used for obtaining composites. From Table 3 it can be seen that with decreasing amount
of prepolymer there is a decrease in the tensile strength of the composite simultaneously
with a reduction of the elongation at break. It is seen that in the range of 20 to 15 °°mass
of prepolymer the mechanical properties show a plateau and do not follow a straight line
while with a higher portion of wood particles the decrease in properties is dramatical.
This results in the proposal to use for producing high quality wood products a prepolymer
amount of about 20 %. In a further series (Table 4) with constant proportions of wood
particles and prepolymer the processing conditions were optimized. The effect of
pressure in the process is illustrated. The mechanical properties depend on the pressure in
such a way as they pass a maximum with a certain pressure, here shown with sample 023,
to result in maximum tensile strength and elongation at break. Higher pressure applied
will reduce the mechanical properties again, presumably due to a breakdown of the wood

In the following series was investigated the effect of pressing time at fixed conditions
(pressure and temperature) and composition on the mechanical properties of the
composites (Table 5). The time of pressing of the components in the mould at fixed
conditions suggests that a longer pressing time than 20 minutes has nearly no effect on
the mechanical properties. Small differences are usually within the range of statistical
error. It is seen from the experiments to prepare composites with wood that this new type
of prepolymers is ell suited to receive such composites ith high mechanical strength even
when employing rather mild conditions. Here, a press temperature of 120C at a pressure
of 200 kp/cm2 for 20 minutes was found to be the optimum.

So, as conclusion, we can write that --Recycling polyols from HR PUR foam may be type
of stable prepolymers by reacting them with polyisocyanates. It could be shown that the
reaction of polymeric MDI results in prepolymers being stable at room temperature and

having a melting point exceeding 50CC so they are solid at room temperature and may be
subjected to typical mechanical processing such as milling. It is surprising that material
containing isocyanate groups between 4.87 and 11.28 mass and highly active catalysts
are stable over a period of two years even with no protection or nitrogen blanket. A new
type of binder material has been developed which may have much more fields of
application as was shown here.

The prepolymer binders are highly effective in bonding wood particles even at a rate of
15 % mass added under various of conditions. The composite material obtained by this
process has high mechanical properties as was shown by the tensile strength being up to
40 N/mm2 and the elongation at break between 0.27 and 0.77 %. So, the prepolymer
binders add to the elasticity of the composites without affecting negatively the properties
of wood. All these applications make the developed polyols and the prepolymers valuable
new intermediates for the production of composites.

2.5. Wood-Polypropylene composite and it’s temperature dependent

Wood-plastic composites (WPCs) are a class of engineered materials comprised mainly
of a lignocellulosic (wood) component and a plastic component (Clemons, 2002;
Wolcott, 2001). The majority of WPCs employ the use of thermoset plastics such as
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or
low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Various species of wood have been tested, with the
most common being pine, maple, and oak (Clemons, 2002). In addition to wood species
variations, the wood component can be integrated into the composite in one of three main
ways: as wood flour, short wood fibers or long wood fibers, with wood flour being the
most common form (Clemons, 2002; Wolcott 2001). With all the possible combinations
of thermoplastics, wood species, and wood form, there is a vast spectrum of mechanical
properties for the permutations of the three variables.

From their beginning, WPC products have been utilized primarily in light or onstructural
applications. For example, the first recorded use of a wood-thermoset composite was as a
gearshift for Rolls Royce in 1916 (Clemons, 2002). Currently, they are most commonly
found as the superstructure on residential decks, sills for windows and doors, or interior
paneling for automobiles. Selection of WPC materials in these markets is based less upon
mechanical performance, and more upon water-resistance, durability and/or low-
maintenance qualities inherent in this class of product (Wolcott, 2001). WPCs have not
been widely used in structural applications because their long term performance is not
documented well enough to make suitable engineering assumptions and judgments.
However, advantages of WPC products (i.e. moisture resistance, durability and low-
maintenance, the ability to easily construct complex cross sections, the efficient nature of
extrusion processing, and the ability to use recycled materials) are becoming increasingly
appealing for select structural applications.

2.5.1. Manufacture of Polypropylene-Pine wood plastic composite:

2.5.2. Materials and Methods

The WPC was manufactured using a formulation composed of 58.8% pine (Pinus spp.)
flour, 33.8% Polypropylene (PP), 4.0% talc, 2.3% maleated polypropylene (MAPP) and
1.0% lubricant by mass (Slaughter, 2004). Manufacturer details for each specific product
included can be found in Table 2.1. Commercial 60-mesh pine (Pinus spp.) flour was
dried in a steam tube dryer to a moisture content of less than 2%. The formulation
components were dry-blended in powder form using a 1.2-m (4-ft) drum mixer in a series
of 25-kg (55-lb) batches. An 86-mm conical counter-rotating twin-screw extruder
(Cincinnati-Milacron TC 86), operating between 5 to 12 rpm, was used to produce
thesections from which specimens were obtained. Barrel and screw temperature profiles
were pre-arranged according to previous research (Kobbe, 2005) and are included in
Table 2.2.

The formulated WPC material was extruded into a three-box cross-section using a
stranding die (Laver, 1996). The section (Figure 2.1) had overall nominal dimensions of
45.7 by 165.1-mm (1.8 by 6.5-in) with nominal wall and flange thicknesses of 10.2-mm

(0.4-in). Test specimens were machined from 1.22-m (4-ft) lengths of this extruded
profile. The dimensions of individual tension and compression specimens were measured
using digital calipers, recorded and used in all property calculations (i.e. cross-sectional

2.5.3. Determination of various material properties at different temperatures:

a) Mechanical Testing
Mechanical testing was conducted to determine material properties at various
temperatures. To achieve this, a 222-kN (50-kip) servo-hydraulic test frame (MTS 810
with MTS 407 controller) was used for load application. Data was collected during
testing by computer at a sampling rate of 2-Hz. Displacement over a 25.4-mm (1-in)
gauge length was measured using an extensometer (MTS Model 634.12E-24). Applied
loads were determined by a 22.2 and 244.7-kN (5-kip Interface 1210AJ-5k-B and 55-kip
MTS 661.22C-01) in-line load cell for tension and compression tests, respectively. A
constant strain rate of 0.01-mm/mm was applied by a controlled crosshead displacement
rate of 2.03-mm/min (0.08-in/min) for both tension and compression. An environmental
chamber was mounted within the test frame to control test conditions at a variety of
potential service temperatures. Specifically, tests were conducted at 21.1°, 30°, 40°, 50°,
65.6° and 80°C (70°, 86°, 104°, 122°, 150° and 176°F) within a tolerance of ±2°C (9°F)
throughout any given test. It was considered that the mechanical behavior of the material
could potentially be affected by molecular rearrangement at higher temperature tests,
thereby relaxing potential processing stresses in some, higher-temperature, test
temperatures but not all conditions. This concern was addressed by conditioning all
specimens at 65.6°C (150°F) for 48-hours prior to testing at any of the prescribed service
conditions. This temperature was judged as an appropriate upper bound to the realistic
service conditions At each temperature level, 28 specimens were tested to ensure a
representative average value and to allow for a valid 5% exclusion limit at 75%
confidence level if needed.

The modulus of elasticity (MOE) of this material was determined using a secant modulus
technique, applied between 5% and 10% of ultimate load (Kobbe, 2005). This procedure
was adopted to maintain consistency in analyzing the nonlinear stress-strain behavior of
this material.

b) Tension
Mechanical properties in tension were established by following procedures outlined in
ASTM D683 with the exceptions of the test temperature and conditioning procedures.
Type III dog-bone specimens were sampled from the top and bottom flanges of the three-
box boards. During preparation, the flanges were cut and planed to ensure uniform
thickness and eliminate surface defects. These planed flanges were then cut to the
required dimensions and shaped to their final configuration using a guide and router.

c) Compression
Mechanical properties in compression were established by following procedures outlined
in ASTM D695, except for test temperatures, conditioning procedures, and specimen
geometry. Previous experiments testing small-scale compressive specimens according to
the ASTM standard have yielded unrepresentative values for full-scale specimen
performance. For this reason, a single-box compression specimen 203-mm (8- in) long
was cut from the outer boxes of the three-box section (Hermanson, et al., 2001). This
specimen was produced by detaching the outer boxes at the two flanges and machining
the cut edges until smooth. All specimen dimensions were measured using digital calipers
and recorded. These dimensions were used in relevant calculations for section area. The
nominal specimen dimensions were 45.7 by 61.0-mm (1.8 by 2.4-in) with four 10.2-mm
(0.4-in) thick walls.

2.5.4. Result and discussion for static mechanical properties:

The temperature dependence of tension and compression properties (σult, εmax, and E)
are presented in Figures 2.2-2.4; respectively. In general, increases in service temperature
resulted in decreased values for σult and E, while εmax showed an increase, indicating a
more ductile response. Representative mean curves were computed by averaging the load
values at common strain levels from the 28 specimens in each loading condition. These
curves, along with the fit constitutive relation curves, are found in Figures 2.7 and 2.8 for
tension and compression, respectively.

For both tension and compression, σult decreased linearly with increasing temperature.
At 21.1ºC (70ºF), the ultimate tensile strength of this material was found to be 18.14-MPa
(2.631-ksi) and decreased to 12.03-MPa (1.745-ksi) at 80ºC (176ºF). A similar trend is
found in compression, however the σult at ambient temperature was approximately 4x
greater at 48.91-MPa (7.094-ksi). Again, as temperature increased to 80ºC (176ºF), σult
decreased linearly to 24.90-MPa (3.611-ksi).

When examining εmax values, the tension and compression gain differed in magnitude,
with compression displaying a much more ductile response. For tension the εmax linearly
doubled from a value of 0.00901-mm/mm at 21.1°C (70°F) to 0.01925- mm/mm at 80°C
(176°F). The compression strains were nearly 3.5x larger than tension strains at ambient
temperatures. The temperature dependence for εmax in compression was more modest
than the tensile trend, however, and remained nearly constant at 0.035- mm/mm
regardless of temperature tested.

A decreasing trend for E is expected due to decreasing strength and increasing ductility
with respect to temperature. At ambient temperature E values for both tension and
compression were nearly identical with values of 3489-MPa (506-ksi) and 3447-MPa
(500-ksi) for tension and compression, respectively. In both modes of loading the values
of E decreased. In tension, E decreased according to a second-order function to a value of
1593-MPa (231-ksi) at 80ºC (176ºF). In compression, a linear decrease was found and at
80ºC a value of 1751-MPa (254-ksi).

Summary statistics for σult, εmax, and E at each temperature level can be found in Table
2.3. For εmax, coefficient of variation (COV) values were between 10% to 16% for
tension and 10% to 22% for compression. There was slightly less scatter for the E data
where COVs ranged between 9% and 18.5% in tension and 7.5% to 13% in compression.
The least scatter among the groups of data is found in ultimate strength. COV values for
this were all below 10% with only one exception at 21.1ºC in tension where the value is

Detection of the α-phase transition prompted an investigation into the behavior of

polypropylene over the temperature range of interest. Previous research has conducted
DMA testing on specimens of neat polypropylene and polypropylene-binder composites
that show glass transition at -8ºC (17.6ºF) and an α-phase transition between 70 and
100ºC (158 to 212ºF). These phase transitions of the composite materials at 70ºC exhibit
less pronounced changes in the DMA results than neat PP. This decrease in prominence
is thought to be a “masking” effect due to including the thermally stable wood phase. It is
proposed that at the α-phase transition a lamellar slip mechanism and rotation of the

crystalline phase begins (Amash and Zugenmaier, 1996). Detection of the α-phase
transition is important because it indicates a change in microstructure response to stress
and could manifest itself in significant changes in mechanical properties at 75ºC.

2.5.5. Constitutive Relations:

The non-linear nature of this material requires a more complex relation than materials
where linear proportionality exists. Separate works by Conway (1967), Lockyear (1999),
Murphy (2003) and Kobbe (2005), have investigated expressions using hyperbolic
functions to describe constitutive relations for non-linear materials. Two possible
constitutive relations could be appropriate for modeling this material, one utilizing the
arc-hyperbolic sine and the other using the hyperbolic tangent functions. Previous
research on this specific formulation by Kobbe (2005) has indicated that the
archyperbolic sine function with two curve fitting parameters (a and b) most accurately
represents the initial stress-strain behaviour.
σ = a − a sinh(b − ε ) ………………………………………………………………. (eq. 1)
Values for the constants a and b were determined for mean stress-strain curves at all
emperatures and are presented in Table 2.4. Values for these constants were determined
by minimizing the residual sum of the squares between the predicted and experimental
data. The quality of fit can be judged in Figure 2.7 and Figure 2.8, where the constitutive
relations are plotted against experimental data.

Clear trends for these empirical parameters can be seen in Figure 2.5 and Figure 2.6
showing a decreasing trend for a and an increasing trend for b with increasing
temperatures. Because of the wide range of temperatures tested, the likely in-service high
temperature condition of any user-end application should fall within this range.
Therefore, appropriate constitutive equations can be interpolated from this data to arrive
at reasonable predictions.

2.5.6. Development of Design Factors:
The mechanical testing results indicate that performance of WPCs is strongly dependent
upon temperature. This dependence should therefore lead to adjustments in the allowable
design process when elevated in-service temperatures are expected. Temperature effects
for civil engineering materials other than timber do not provide much guidance for
expected service temperatures. For steel, concrete, and masonry design, no reductions are

proposed for the temperature range studied in this work (Salmon and Johnson, 1996;
MacGregor, 1997). Decreases for steel and concrete are only assessed at much higher
temperatures for fire-resistance and welding considerations. Because timber construction
is the only material widely used within the civil engineering community with
temperature-dependent strength, and WPC products are likely to be used as replacements
for timber components, an approach similar to timber design is logical to develop. For
this reason, the same ranges for temperature factor limits are considered for WPCs as in
the timber code; T < 37.8°C, 37.8°C < T < 51.7°C, and 51.7°C < T < 65.6°C (T < 100°F,
100°F < T < 125°F, and 125°F < T < 150°F). Interpretation of the results presented here
suggests that the decrease in E with temperature should also be addressed to
appropriately deal with some load-bearing phenomena (i.e. buckling of columns,
serviceability limits, etc.). Both strength and material stiffness degradation can be
addressed using a factor-based design methodology with timber design as a model to
develop these procedures.

2.5.7. Proposed Design Factors:

To arrive at an appropriate allowable design value for a given loading property (Fx), the
mean value of the property must be first adjusted for variability to arrive at a
characteristic value (B), that is then further modified by a series of adjustment factors
(Ci) which account for service conditions that differ from testing conditions. The
following equation has previously been proposed for WPC materials and is similar in
form to the NDS method for timber design:

B represents the characteristic allowable property modified for variability
C indicates various property adjustment factors
Subscripts a, t, m, v, d represent adjustments for safety, temperature, moisture, volume,
and load duration; respectively.

From strength and MOE trends found in this investigation, an equation to calculate
specific Ct factors for specific thermal loads has been found. This equation takes a
quadratic polynomial form to encompass second-order effects that are found in material
stiffness degradation:

Where: Ct is the temperature adjustment for a specific thermal load β1,2 are empirical
coefficients (Table 2.5)

ΔT is the difference in thermal load temperature from ambient (21.1°C or 70°F) Equation
4 can be applied to calculate reduction factors for both strength and E. Furthermore,
investigating the reduction of these properties indicated unique decreases in properties
between tension and compression. Therefore, different empirical factors should be
applied to calculate the thermal reduction parameter depending on the mode of loading

that a member will experience. Table 2.5 contains the empirical β-coefficients that apply
to Equation 4 above.

A more simplified approach can also be employed to determine the Ct factor for these
materials. This approach considers temperature ranges over which a single reduction
factor is calculated. Values of Ct have been calculated for the same temperature intervals
as the NDS approach for timber design and are presented in Table 2.6. It is important to
mention that this approach is always conservative by converting the prevailing
temperatures to the low end of the interval.

Comparing the approach developed here with previous attempts to determine temperature
adjustment factors offers four obvious differences. First, this study has determined a
strong dependence between loading mode and degradation path. This is most clearly
illustrated in Figures 2.9 and 2.10 by the difference between tension and ompression
values for Ct. Secondly, is the ability to calculate a case-specific thermal adjustment by
presenting an equation-based method to determine the temperature reduction factor. This
will allow for full utilization of these materials rather than only providing an approach
that may unduly penalize the performance of the material at the low end of a temperature
range. Next, a method to determine thermal loads follows in this work to determine
thermal loads where no approach had previously been suggested to the knowledge of the
author. Lastly, the magnitudes of the reduction factors found here are different than those
previously proposed for the same temperature intervals proposed by the NDS and similar
to the ranges previously approximated for WPCs (Haiar, 2000; NDS, 2001).

2.5.8. Considerations for Thermal Loads:
Reductions to WPC strength and material stiffness with increased temperature are more
severe than for timber because a stronger temperature dependence exists. Furthermore,
because the loss in strength and MOE for timber at high temperatures is often offset by
gains from lower moisture contents, most residential construction assesses no adjustment
(Breyer, et al., 1999, NDS 2005). Application of temperature factors in timber design

focuses upon sustained temperatures upon a member due to the slow strength degradation
wood undergoes at high temperatures. Degradation in timber is due to hydrolysis of the
hemicellulose components and is non-recoverable due to the chemical breakdown of
components. A different approach is appropriate for WPCs because strength and material
stiffness degradation occur quickly. Mechanical performance decreases with temperature
in WPCs because of a softening of the thermoplastic matrix, rather than chemical
degradation as in the case of timber. Strength and MOE of WPCs is recoverable then as
the temperature decreases and the polymer matrix hardens. It is still unclear the degree to
which these properties recover after heating. Transient periods of high temperature must
therefore be evaluated in the design process to coincide with the worst-case performance
of the material, rather than a sustained load approach where appreciable short-term
decreases in strength and MOE may be overlooked. It is important then to address what
temperature should be considered a design level temperature.

Many design loads are considered on a 50-year recurrence timeframe (i.e. snow loads in
the International Building Code (IBC)). This will provide a temperature that should be
exceeded only once every 50-years, and probabilistically should only have a 2- 24
percent annual likelihood of being exceeded. This approach is recommended to find a
thermal load for WPCs based on air temperature with regard to geographical location.
One credible source for data to calculate the 50-year temperature is the ASHRAE
Fundamentals Handbook (ASHRAE, 2001). This source includes extreme air temperature
annual daily maximums, the standard deviation of those maximums with respect to all
historical data present for a given location, and the equation used to alculate the 50-year
maximum temperature. This extreme annual mean and standard deviation data is
presented in tabular form for hundreds of cities in the United States and Canada, as well
as for select other cities worldwide. Following are example calculations for two locations
in the United States with very different climate considerations:

The temperature load to consider for design is calculated using the following equation
found in ASHRAE and is based upon an assumed Gumbel distribution fitted with the
method of moments:

appropriate engineering judgment must be employed when considering temperatures at
which loads will be applied. At high temperatures when solar incident heating would
occur, oftentimes the application will not see full design loads. The difficulty in
addressing issues such as solar incident heating and assessing non-uniform thermal
gradients within a cross-section is a lack of a standardized method to address these issues.
Until a standardized process is established to account for these influences, the judgment
of competent design engineers must be trusted.

So, a designer must consider the probability of experiencing both solar incident heating
and full design load, keeping in mind that reductions for strength and material stiffness
are temporary while high-temperature conditions exist. Furthermore, in applications such
as decking superstructures, to achieve a full design load on the deck would effectively
block the sunlight from the members themselves and negate any incident effects. Heating
effects beyond ambient air temperature must be considered on an individual application
basis, 26 with reasonable assessment for the application of loads and applicability of
additional heating

2.5.9. Considerations for Implementation

Final implementation of temperature factors should include some consideration for the
mode of failure for the designed member. When members are constructed for only
compressive loadings, factors based on the compressive testing here would recommend
values of 0.80, 0.70, 0.60, and 0.50 for the respective temperature ranges of the previous
section (Section 2.4.3). This would apply to situations like deck foundation columns
where only compressive axial forces are of interest. Similarly, calculations for buckling
stress and other performance issues relating to stiffness should be checked using a
reduced E in order to ensure adequate stiffness during high temperature conditions. If the
mode of loading is a flexural or pure tensile application, the σult temperature factors
should more closely resemble the tensile factors of 0.80, 0.80, 0.70, and 0.60. At a
“design level” stress, a flexural member would be designed such that maximum tensile
and compressive stresses are less than or equal to approximately 40% of their respective
ultimate strengths. At this loading level, compressive and tensile behavior should be
roughly equal in magnitude (Kobbe, 2005). However, the disparity between compressive
and tensile capacities is such that a load level equal to the ultimate design level stress in
tension (40% of 2630 psi or 1052 psi) would only be 15% of the compressive capacity on
the opposite extreme fibers in the member. Thus, failures will initiate in the tensile face
of flexural members (Kobbe, 2005). The factors developed for the tensile failure mode
would then be the appropriate mode to combat flexural failure. Applying the more 27

conservative (smaller in magnitude) compressive factors would create an overly
conservative case because of the disparity in strength between tension and compression.

2.5.10. Conclusion
Experimental results have provided the opportunity to track the performance of a pine-
polypropylene composite material over a temperature range of 21.1ºC (70ºF) to 80ºC
(176ºF). Different magnitudes of σult were measured for tension and compression, but the
trend for both loading modes with respect to increasing temperature both decrease
linearly. Tension loadings for εmax increased appreciably with temperature, whereas a
nearly constant maximum strain was determined for compression regardless of
temperature. E in both tension and compression both measured near 3447-MPa (500-ksi)
at ambient temperatures and decreased by nearly half of that at 80ºC (176ºF), with a
linear inverse relationship in compression and a quadratic relationship for tension. The
nonlinear behavior of this material class dictated that an arc-hyperbolic sine function with
two empirically fit parameters be used to adequately describe the constitutive behavior of
this material. An inverse relationship between the first empirical parameter, a, while a
direct relationship for the second parameter, b, was determined to occur with increasing
temperatures. Correct determination of constitutive relations with respect to temperature
will allow for more accurate analytical results from finite element, moment curvature or
other analytical tools. One possible method for determining thermal loads upon a
structure based upon geographical location was explored, and sample calculations were
presented. This method is based on historical climactic data in the ASHRAE Handbook
and has solid engineering principles supporting it. A 50-year extreme maximum
temperature is recommended for design. However, proper engineering judgment and
consideration of competing factors (i.e. reduced live loads at high temperatures and issues
regarding solar incident heating) should be taken into account by the individual designer
for appropriate use of these materials. Based upon the test results and trends over this
temperature range, adjustment factors were proposed at temperature levels similar to
timber design for both ultimate stress and material stiffness in tension and compression.
Considering ultimate stresses, for ambient temperature to 37.5ºC (100ºF) a reduction of
0.80 is appropriate for both tension and compression members. The next temperature
range is between 37.8ºC (100ºF) and 51.7ºC (125ºF) and factors of 0.80 and 0.70 for
tension and compression, respectively were determined. The next range found factors of
0.70 for tension and 0.60 for compression and applies between 51.7ºC and 65.6ºC (125ºF
to 150ºF). Above 65.6ºC (150ºF) a factor of 0.60 for tension and 0.50 for compression
will appropriately reduce the allowable stress allowed on a member to account for the
reduction of strength at the elevated temperature condition.

MOE reductions similar to those for σult are also proposed for the same temperature levels
to address decreases in E. From ambient to 37.8ºC (100ºF) factors of 0.70 and 0.80 were
determined for tension and compression, respectively. Above that, for temperatures
between 37.8ºC (100ºF) and 51.7ºC (125ºF) reduction values of 0.50 and 0.60 apply for
tension and compression. Lastly, at temperatures greater than 65.6ºC (150ºF), factors of
0.40 and 0.50 are recommended to adequately reduce E.

2.6. Plywood and composite wood product industries:
Several industries that comprise the plywood and composite wood source category fall
into three categories based on their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or North
American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifications and they are:
• Softwood plywood and veneer • Reconstituted wood products • Structural wood
members .

Here, three categories of plywood and wood composites production: plywood and veneer;
particleboard, strand and fiber composites; and structural wood members are given. The
construction of plywood, consists basically of combining an odd number of layers of
veneer, with each layer having one or more plies. Hardwood plywood is generally made
by applying a hardwood veneer to the face and back of a softwood plywood, MDF, or
particleboard panel. The differences between the hardwood and softwood processes occur
because of different inputs and markets. Particleboard, oriented strand board, fiberboard,
and hardboard are all processed similarly. These three types of reconstituted wood
products are manufactured by combining fragmented pieces of wood and wood fiber into
a cohesive mat of wood particles, fibers, and strands. Structural wood members are the
products of multiple manufacturing techniques. This section describes the production of
glue-laminated timber and the three types of structural composite lumber: laminated
veneer lumber, parallel strand lumber, and laminated strand lumber.

While there is a broad range of plywood and wood composites and many applications for
such products, this section of the profile groups the production processes of these
products into three general categories: plywood and veneer; particle board, strand and
fiber composites; and structural wood members. Further descriptions of the production
processes for each of these categories are provided in this section.

2.6.1. Manufacturing of Plywood and Veneer:

a) Plywood and Veneer

Construction of plywood relies on combining an odd number of layers of veneer. Layers
consist of one or more than one ply with the wood grain running in the same direction.
Outside plies are called faces or face and back plies, while the inner plies are called cores
or centers. Layers may vary in number, thickness, species, and grade of wood. To
distinguish the number of plies (individual sheets of veneer in a panel) from the number
of layers (number of times the grain orientation changes), panels are sometimes described
as three-ply, three-layer, or four-ply, three-layer.

As described above, veneer is one of the main components of plywood. Most softwood
plants produce plywood veneer for their own use. Of facilities reporting drying of veneer,
86 percent of the veneer produced was used for in-facility plywood production. Only
approximately 7 percent of the facilities in the ICR survey produced veneer solely for
outside sales and non-internal plywood use (EPA, 1998).

The general processes for making softwood includes: log debarking, log steaming and/or
soaking, veneer cutting, veneer drying, veneer preparation, glue application, pressing,
panel trimming, and panel sanding. Softwood plywood is generally made with relatively
thick faces (1/10 inch and thicker) and with exterior or intermediate glue. This glue
provides protection in construction and industrial uses where moderate delays in
providing weather protection might be expected or conditions of high humidity and water
leakage may exist.

Logs delivered to a plant are sorted, then debarked and cut into peeler blocks. Almost all
hardwood and many softwood blocks are heated prior to peeling the veneer to soften the
wood. The peeler blocks are heated by steaming, soaking in hot water, spraying with hot
water, or combinations of these methods. Heated blocks are then conveyed to a veneer
lathe. The block, gripped at either end and rotated at high speed, is fed against a
stationary knife parallel to its length. Veneer is peeled from the block in continuous,
uniform sheets. Depending on its intended use, veneer may range in thickness from 1/16
to 3/16 (1.6mm to 4.8mm) for softwood and much thinner for hardwood and decorative
plywood uses (Youngquist, 1999). Slicing methods are also used to produce hardwood
decorative veneers generally in thicknesses of 1/24 inch and thinner.

After peeling, the continuous sheets of veneer are transported by conveyor to a clipping
station where it is clipped. In softwood mills and some hardwood mills, high-speed
clippers automatically chop the veneer ribbons to usable widths and defects are removed.
In many hardwood mills, clipping may be done manually to obtain the maximum amount
of clear material. Wet clipped veneer is then dried. Proper drying is necessary to ensure
moisture content is low enough for adhesives to be effective.

Two types of dryers are used in softwood veneer mills: roller resistant dryers, heated by
forced air; and “platen” dryers, heated by steam. In older roller dryers, also still widely
used for hardwood veneer, air is circulated through a zone parallel to the veneer. Most
plants built in recent years use jet dryers (also called impingement dryers) that direct a
current of air, at a velocity of 2,000 to 4,000 feet per minute, through small tubes on the
surface of the veneer. Veneer dryers may be heated indirectly with steam, generated by a
separate boiler, which is circulated through internal coils in contact with dryer air. Dryers
may also be heated directly by the combustion gases of a gas-or wood-fired burner. The
gas-fired burner is located inside the dryer, whereas combustion gases from a wood-fired
burner are mixed with re-circulating dryer air in a blend box outside the dryer and then
transported into the dryer. Veneer dryers tend to release organic aerosols, gaseous organic
compounds, and small amounts of wood fiber into the atmosphere. Once dried, veneer is
sorted and graded for particular uses.

Plywood manufacturing begins with the veneer sent to a lay-up area for adhesive
application. Various adhesive application systems are used including hard rolls, sponge
rolls, curtain coaters, sprayers, and foam extruders. The most common application for
softwood plywood is an air or airless spray system, which generally uses a fixed-head

applicator capable of a 10-foot wide spray at a nozzle pressure of 300 pounds per square
inch (psi). The phenol-formaldehyde (PF) adhesives typical in softwood plywood
manufacturing is made from resins synthesized in regional plants and shipped to
individual plywood mills. At the mills, the resins are combined with extenders, fillers,
catalysts, and caustic to modify the viscosity of the adhesive. This glue mixing has
several additional effects: allowing the adhesive to be compatible with the glue
application method (curtain, roll, spray, foam); allowing for better adhesive distribution;
increasing the cure rate; and lowering cost.

Following the application of glue, the panels must be pressed. The purpose of the press is
to bring the veneers into close contact so that the glue layer is very thin. At this point,
resin is heated to the temperature required for the glue to bond. Most plywood plants first
use a cold press at lower pressure prior to final pressing in the hot press. This allows the
wet adhesive to "tack" the veneers together, permits easier loading of the hot-press, and
prevents shifting of the veneers during loading. Pressing is usually performed in multi-
opening presses, which can produce 20 to 40 4x8-foot panels in each two-to seven-
minute pressing cycle.

After pressing, stationary circular saws trim up to one inch from each side of the pressed
plywood to produce square-edged sheets. Approximately 20 percent of annual softwood
plywood production is then sanded. As sheets move through enclosed automatic sanders,
pneumatic collectors above and below the plywood continuously remove the sander dust.
Sawdust in trimming operations is also removed by pneumatic collectors. The plywood
trim and sawdust are burned as fuel or sold to reconstituted panel plants.

2.6.2. Particle, Strand, and Fiber Composites:

This group of products falls into the SIC or NAICS code category of reconstituted wood
products. The impacted facilities in this category manufacture the following products
(MRI, 1999).
• Medium density fiberboard
• Oriented stand board
• Particleboard
• Hardboard

All particle, strand and fiber composites are processed in similar ways. Raw material for
particleboard, oriented strandboard (OSB), fiberboard, and hardboard is obtained by
flaking or chipping wood. The general process then includes wood drying, adhesive
application, and forming a mat of wood particles, fibers, or strands. The mat is then
pressed in a platen-type press under heat and pressure until the adhesive is cured. The
bonded panel is finally cooled and further processed into specified width, length, and
surface qualities. Specific details regarding the production processes for different
products are provided below.

a) Particleboard
Generally, particleboard is produced by mechanically reducing wood materials into small
articles, applying adhesive to the particles, and consolidating a loose mat with heat and
pressure into a panel product. Particleboard is typically made in three layers with the
faces consisting of finer material and the core using coarser material. Particleboard can
also be made from a variety of agricultural residues, including kenaf core, jute stick,
cereal straw, and rice husks depending on the region. EPA does not expect facilities that
produce particleboard made from agricultural esidues, also called agriboard, to
experience compliance cost impacts associated with the new MACT standard. EPA
expects only one facility that produces molded particleboard to experience compliance
cost impacts (MRI, 1999).

The raw materials, or "furnish," that are used to manufacture reconstituted wood products
can be either green or dry wood residues. Green residues include planer shavings from
green lumber and green sawdust. Dry process residues include shavings from planing
kiln-dried lumber, sawdust, sander dust, and plywood trim. The wood residues are ground
into particles of varying sizes using flakers, mechanical refiners, and hammer mills, and
are then classified according to their physical properties.

After classification, the furnish is dried to a low moisture content (two to seven percent)
to allow for moisture that will be gained by the adding of resins and other additives
during blending. Most dryers currently in operation in particle and fiber composite
manufacturing plants use large volumes of air to convey material of varied size through
one or more passes within the dryer. Rotating drum dryers requiring one to three passes
of the furnish are most common. The use of triple-pass dryers predominates in the United
States. Dryer temperatures may be as high as 1,100 -1,200° F with a wet furnish.
However, dry planer shavings require that dryer temperatures be no higher than 500° F
because the ignition point of dry wood is 446° F. Many dryers are directly heated by dry
fuel suspension burners. Others are heated by burning oil or natural gas. Direct-fired
rotary drum dryers release emissions such as wood dust, combustion products, fly ash,
and organic compounds evaporated from the extractable portion of the wood. Steam-
heated and natural gas-fired dryers will have no fly ash.

The furnish is then blended with synthetic adhesives, wax, and other additives distributed
via spray nozzles, simple tubes, or atomizers. Resin may be added as received (usually as
an aqueous solution), or mixed with water, wax emulsion, catalyst, or other additives.
Waxes are added to impart water repellency and dimensional stability to the boards upon
wetting. Particles for particleboard are mixed with the additive in short retention time
blenders, through which the furnish passes in seconds. The furnish and resin mixture is
then formed into mats using a dry process. This procedure uses air or a mechanical
system to distribute the furnish onto a moving caul (tray), belt, or screen. Particleboard
mats are often formed of layers of different sized particles, with the larger particles in the
core, and the finer particles on the outside of the board. The mats are hot pressed to
increase their density and to cure the resin. Most plants use multi-opening platen presses.

Though more popular in Europe, the continuous press is currently being used in
particleboard plants in the United States.

Primary finishing steps for all reconstituted wood panels include cooling or hot stacking,
grading, trimming/cutting, and sanding. Cooling is important for UF-resin-cured boards
since the resin degrades at high temperatures after curing. Boards bonded using PF resins
may be hot-stacked to provide additional curing time. Secondary finishing steps include
filling, painting, laminating, and edge finishing. The vast majority of manufacturers do
not apply secondary finishes to their panels; panels are finished primarily by end-users
such as cabinet and furniture manufacturers. Panels are also finished by laminators who
then sell the finished panels to furniture and cabinet manufacturers.

b) Oriented Strandboard (OSB)

OSB is an engineered structural-use panel manufactured from thin wood strands bonded
together with waterproof resin under heat and pressure. OSB manufacturing begins with
debarked logs usually heated in soaking ponds sliced into wood strands typically
measuring 4.5 to 6 inches long (114 to 152mm). Green strands are stored in wet bins and
then dried in a traditional triple-pass dryer, a single-pass dryer, a combination triple–
pass/single-pass dryer, or a three-section dryer. A recent advance in drying technology is
a continuous chain dryer, in which strands are laid between two chain mats so the strands
are held in place as they move through the dryer.

After drying, blending and mat formation take place, blending of strands with adhesive
and wax takes place in separate rotating blenders for face and core strands. Different
resin formulations are typically used for face and core layers. Face resins may be liquid
or powdered phenolics, while core resins may be phenolics or isocyantes. Mat formers
take on a number of configurations to align strands along the length and width of the
panel. Oriented layers of strands are dropped sequentially (face, core, face, for example),
each by a different forming head. The mat is then transported by conveyer belt to the
press. Hot pressing involves the compression of the loose layered mat of oriented strands
under heat and pressure to cure the resin. Most plants utilize multi-opening presses that
can form as many as sixteen 12-by 24-ft (3.7-by 7.3m) panels simultaneously. Recent
development of a continuous press for OSB can consolidate the oriented and layer mat in
3 to 5 minutes.

c) Fiber Composites
Fiber composites include hardboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), fiberboard, and
insulation board. In order to make fibers for these composites, bonds between the wood
fibers must be broken. This is generally done through refining of the material, which
involves grinding or shearing of the material into wood fibers as it is forced between
rotating disks. Refining can be augmented by water soaking, steam cooking (digesting),
or chemical treatments as well.

Fiber composites are classified by density and can involve either a wet process or a dry
process. High and medium density boards, such as hardboard and MDF, apply a dry
process. Wet processes can be used for high-density hardboard and low-density insulation

board (fiberboard). Dry process involves adhesive-coated fibers that are dried in a tube
dryer and air-laid into a mat for pressing.

Wet processes differ from the dry processes. This process involves the utilization of
water as a distributing medium for fibers in a mat. Further differences lie in the lack of
additional binding agents in some wet processes. The technology is very much like paper
manufacturing in this pulp-based aspect. Natural bonding in the wood fibers occurs in
this process. Refining in this process relies on developing material that can achieve this
binding with a degree of “freeness” for removal from mats. The wet process involves a
continuously moving mesh screen, onto which pulp flows. Water is drawn off through the
screen and through a series of press rolls. The wet fiber mats are dried in a conveyor-type
dryer as they move to the press. Wet process hardboard is then pressed in multi-open
presses heated by steam. Fiberboard is not pressed.

Manufacturers use several treatments alone or together to increase dimensional stability

and mechanical performance of both wet and dry process hardboards. Heat treatment
exposes pressed fiberboard to dry heat, reducing water absorption and improving fiber
bonding. Tempering is the heat treatment of pressed boards preceded by the addition of
oil. Humidification is the addition of water to bring board moisture content into
equilibrium with the air.

2.6.3. Structural Wood Members:

Structural wood members, such as glue-laminated timbers and structural composite
timber, are manufactured using a number of methods. Glue-laminated timber, or glulam,
is an engineered product formed with two or more layers of lumber glued together in
which the grain of all layers, called laminations, is oriented parallel to the length of the
lumber. Glulam products also include lumber glued to panel products, such I-joists and
box beams. Structural composite lumber consists of small pieces of wood glued together
into sizes common for solid-sawn lumber.

a) Glue-Laminated Timber (Glulam)

Glulam is a material that is made from suitably selected and prepared pieces of wood,
either straight or curved, with the grain of all pieces essentially parallel to the
longitudinal axis of the member. The manufacturing process for glulam involves four
major steps: (1) drying and grading, (2) end jointing, (3) face bonding, and (4) finishing
and fabricating.

b) Structural composite lumber

There are three major types of structural composite lumber: laminated veneer lumber,
parallel strand lumber, and laminated strand lumber. Each is described in more detail
below, however, the general manufacturing process for these composites is similar.
Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is manufactured by laminating veneer with all plies
parallel to the length. This process utilizes veneer 1/8 to 1/10 inches. (3.2 to 2.5 mm)
thick, which are hot pressed with phenol-formaldehyde adhesive to form lumber of 8 to
60 feet (2.4 to 18.3 m) in length. The veneer used for LVL must be carefully selected to
achieve the proper design characteristics. Ultrasonic testing is often used to sort veneer

required for LVL. Once the veneer has been selected, end jointing occurs followed by
adhesive application and continuous pressing.

Parallel strand lumber (PSL) is a composite of wood strand elements with wood fibers
primarily oriented along the length of the member. PSL is manufactured using veneer
about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, which is then clipped into 3/4 inch (19 mm) wide strands.
The process can utilize waste material from a plywood or LVL operation. Strands are
coated with a waterproof structural adhesive, and oriented using special equipment to
ensure proper placement and distribution. The pressing operation results in densification
of the material. Adhesives are cured using microwave technology. As with LVL, the
continuous pressing method is used.

Laminated strand lumber (LSL) is produced using an extension of the technology used to
produce oriented strandboard structural panels. LSL uses longer strands than those
commonly used in OSB manufacturing. LSL is pressed into a billet several inches thick
in a steam-injection press, as opposed to an OSB panel pressed in a multi-opening platen
press. The product also requires a greater degree of alignment of the strands at higher
pressures, which result in increased densification.

2.6.4. Products, By-Products, and Co-Products

Exhibit 2-3 presents products, corresponding SIC and NAICS codes, and product
examples of the plywood and composite wood products industry. The plywood and
composite wood products industries have unique manufacturing processes in their use of
waste wood products as an input for additional products. Planer shavings, sawdust,
edgings, and other wood by-products are inputs to many wood composites. Structural
wood members were developed in response to the increasing demand for high quality
lumber when it became difficult to obtain this type of lumber from forest resources.
Therefore, many of the by-and co-products from one process may be used in another.

Exhibit 2-4 provides ratios of specialization and coverage (product mix) calculated by the
U.S. Census Bureau for the last three Censuses of Manufacturers. The Census assigns a
“primary” SIC code to each establishment which corresponds to the SIC code for the
largest (by value) single type of product shipped by the establishment. The products
shipped from that establishment that are classified in the same industry as the
establishment are considered “primary,” and all other products shipped by the
establishment are considered “secondary.” The Census then calculates various measures
to illustrate the product mix between primary and secondary products in each industry.
The specialization ratio represents the ratio of total primary product shipments to total
product shipments for all establishments classified in the industry. The coverage ratio
represents the ratio of primary products shipped by the establishments classified in the
industry to the total shipments of these products shipped by all establishments classified
in all industries.

2.7. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) production:

MDF consists of wood fibers (including; tracheids in softwoods, and vessels, fibres,
fiber-tracheids and parenchyma cells in hardwood (Evans, 1994)) blended with synthetic
thermosetting formaldehyde based resins and then pressed into boards. MDF can be made
from a wide variety of lignocellulosic materials and an important implication of this is the
use of recycled materials and non-wood fibres in its manufacture. Many softwoods and
even bamboo (Wang, 1991), rice husks and waste paper (Dube, 1995) have been used
successfully in the manufacture of MDF, although the type of fiber used in its
manufacture strongly influence board properties (Myers, 1983). Combinations of wood
and non-wood materials are increasingly being used to enhance specific properties,
particularly strength, density and sorption characteristics (Park, 1993). MDF is
increasingly being used as a replacement for other wood products, and its use in

engineering fields is increasing. Figure 1.6 illustrates the manufacturing process of MDF.

Once the MDF plant has obtained suitable logs, the first process is debarking. The logs
could be used with the bark, as could any fibrous material, but for optimisation of the
final product the bark is removed to decrease equipment damaging grit, allow faster
drainage of water during mat formation, decrease organic waste load by 10-15 %,
stabilize pH levels (reduces corrosion of tools ) and increase surface finish. Although
some plants accept chips directly from other operations, chipping is typically done at the
MDF plant. A disc chipper a plate and the spinning plate is faced perpendicularly to the
log feed. The feed speed of the logs, the radial speed of the knife plate, the protrusion
distance of the knives and the angle of the knives, control the chip size. The chips are
then screened and those that are oversized may be rechipped. The chips can be pulped
using a Masonite gun process, atmospheric or pressurized disk refiner.

After defibration fibers enter the blow line. The blow line is initially only 40mm in
diameter with the fibers passing through at high velocity. Wax, used to improve the
moisture resistance of the finished board, and resin are added in the blow line while the
fibers are still wet, as dry fibers would form bundles, due to hydro bonding, and material
consistency would be lost. The fibers are dried by heating coils warming the blowline to
about 6-12 percent moisture content. After drying, mat formation is accomplished by

means of airlaying. The mat can either be laterally cut to size as it leaves the pendistor or
it can be cut half way through its run by a synchronized flying cut off saw. The density
profile of the panel is critical to achieving satisfactory strength properties concentrating
mass, and hence load bearing ability, at the top and bottom of the board means that
inertial properties are maximized and the greatest strength can be obtained for minimal
weight. This is achieved by the press acting at impacted pressure initially and then slower
pressure application. As an example, for a 16mm board:
• Press closed. 20 seconds to bring mat to 28 mm.
• 28 seconds at 26mm.
• 23 seconds at 25mm.
• 125 seconds at 18.3.

2.8. Recycled wood plastic lumber composite:

During 1990s, a number of technologies emerged to utilize recycled plastic in products
designed to replace dimensional wood lumber. Since that time recycled plastic products
have proven to be alternatives for many applications offering high durability and
requiring low maintenance. RPLs are resilient, weather resistant, impervious to rot,
mildew and termites. They do not need painting and staining. While RPL id widely
employed in the construction of outdoor decks, it is also being used to fabricate moldings,
doorjambs, window casings, railway tiles, pilings, posts and fencing products. The
development of high throughput, low cost processing technologies will afford the
opportunities to further close the recycling loop for the PE film and other plastics
collected in industrial, commercial and municipal programs.

2.8.1. Properties of Plastic Lumber

In general, plastic lumber products are durable, stable, resilient and weather-resistant.
They are impervious to rot, mildew, termites and other wood-eating organisms, and do
not require high maintenance or regular repainting or staining. Many plastic lumber
products are highly attractive and can be manufactured to meet a wide variety of design
and appearance specifications. When wood or some other natural fibre source is
incorporated into the material, many plastic lumber products can be painted or stained.
The polymer chosen to formulate a wood fibre-plastic composite, as well as the amount
of fibre added, will affect the properties (and potential applications) of the end products
produced. In addition, increasing the amount of wood fibre can reduce the degree of
creep exhibited by a plastic composite. A critical issue with plastic lumber is its low
stiffness and low flexural strength when compared with natural wood. This may have
limited the use of plastic lumber or wood fibre-plastic composites for structural
applications, such as deck joists. To date, most of the extruded plastic or WPC boards
produced have been used for deck surfaces where flex modulus is less critical. The new
oriented wood-polymer composites may be able to reverse that situation. . As can be
seen, conventional WPCs have relatively low flexural strength and stiffness compared to
pine. However, the oriented wood fibre- polypropylene composite offers stiffness that is
up to 82 percent of the flex modulus of the pine, while more than doubling the flexural

2.8.2. Processing Technologies & Product Type

During the 1990s, a number of technologies emerged to utilize recycled plastics in

products designed to replace dimensional wood lumber. While the largest market growth
has been in the production of exterior deck boards, recycled plastic lumber (RPL) is also
being used to fabricate moldings, doorjambs, window casings, playground equipment,
railway ties, pilings, posts and fencing products. Despite a temporary slowdown in
demand in 2000-2001, due to generally depressed economic conditions and the
accumulation of high inventories by suppliers, the plastic lumber industry remains a
growing force in the construction and building sector. Some of the traditional wood
lumber companies are investing in new facilities to produce polyethylene wood
composites. In addition, a number of Canadian companies have launched plastic lumber
products in the past two years (although, for the most part, these recent start-ups have
focused on the use of virgin polymers, rather than recycled plastics). Recently, an Ontario
firm has updated an earlier extrusion flow molding technology, which had only limited
application, to create a low-cost, high-output system that should provide new options for
using recycled plastic, including sources that are heavily contaminated, to make railway
ties and other large cross-section timbers.

This section briefly reviews the major production systems that are being used to make
recycled plastic lumber -- including single polymer systems, extrusion flow molding
systems, fiberglass-reinforced RPL, PVC extrusion profiles, wood fibre-plastic
composites, oriented wood fibre-polymer composites, and polymer-polymer products.
This section also assesses the capacities of the various production technologies to utilize
recycled plastics in an effective and economic manner, and investigates the opportunities
that might arise through the use of the new extrusion flow mold system developed by
SPS Inc. (Tilsonburg, Ontario).

a) Single Polymer Systems

These systems, which use (primarily) continuously-extruded, structurally-foamed high

density polyethylene, represent a significant part of the deck board market. The producers
tend to use natural HDPE from milk jugs that can be pigmented to produce attractive
deck colours. U.S. Plastic Lumber (Boca Raton, Florida) has been the largest and fastest
growing company making this product.

b) Extrusion Flow Molding

One of the first processes to be utilized to manufacture plastic developed in Europe,

these systems can utilize mixed poh costs. However, the earlier versions of the process
produced parts of low quality, which resulted in low Ontario company (SPS Inc.) has
developed a new flow overcome the shortcomings of the earlier models (see si
revolutionizes flow mold technology”). The high thro t SPS produces low-cost, high-

quality railway ties, marine ties and other profiles with large cross-sections. The system
can handle a wide range of recycled plasticADDSsJ’4O

2.8.3. Fibreglass-Reinforced RPL Production

This technology can be used to produce structural components and has a growing list of
applications, including: deck joists; marine break walls, bulkheads and pilings; railway
ties; and more demanding structural components. U.S Plastic Lumber is the largest
producer of this type of material and some is produced under license from Rutgers
University. It may be advantageous to place the glass fibre in the outer region of an
extruded profiler to maximize stiffness and maintain toughness. A demonstration project
(designed by M. G. Maclaren Engineering, for the New York Department of Economic
Development) uses fiberglass-reinforced RPL in an arched bridge. The bridge
constructed in New Baltimore N.Y. has met the design criteria for load; the tests included
driving a heavy truck onto the structure and measuring deflection under load. A
polypropylene-composite sheet, manufactured by Elf Products Inc. (Euclid, Arizona), has
successfully replaced marine plywood in new boat manufacture. The product is a
compression-molded composite composed of polypropylene, glass fibre and cellulose
fibre (that is a combination of wood, long fibre flax and kenaf). This new product, under
the brand name All-A-Board, is being used by SEA RAY in the manufacture of fibreglass
boats. It resists rot better than marine plywood and bonds well to fibreglass. It can be
used for bulkheads, transoms, decks and backing plates.

2.8.4. PVC Extrusion Profiles

These profiles are being used in railing and deck board markets. The American
Architectural Manufacturers Association is working with ASTM on standards that cover
PVC products. At least 14 companies extrude PVC deck boards and railing components.
Royal Plastics (Woodbridge, Ontario) offers a complete line of vinyl decking systems in
Canada. If fire retardancy is required, then PVC extrusion profiles have an advantage
over other plastics (that might require heavy doses of flame retardant to meet
flammability requirements).

2.8.5. Wood fibre—Plastic composites

WPCs are the largest and fastest growing segment of the recycled plastic lumber market.
In the early 1 990s, products were commercialized using mixtures of polyethylene and
wood to manufacture deck boards and other wood replacement products. They were
manufactured with mixtures of 50 to 70 percent wood fibre and 30 to 50 percent
polyethylene, either high or low density PE or mixtures of the two polymers. The
extruded deck boards and profiles exhibit higher modulus than pure (such as those made
from HDPE) and can be painted and offered in natural colours that age to a gray shade
similar to manufactured with blue, gray or red pigments that sil the major manufacturers
in this sector are the Trex C a series of new composite products have been polymers
including polypropylene polystyrene, ABS, and PVC.. Other natural fibres have been
used in addition to wood fibres, including rice hulls and even straws and flax. The mostly
used raw materials for these composites continue to be Polyethylene bags and films,

waste wood fibres, including high and low density polyethylene. The cost of these raw
materials has tended to be lower than the cost of virgin HDPE, providing a manufacturing
cost advantage to the composite board stock over the pure polymer extrusions. Despite
the cost disadvantage, some companies are opting to use virgin polymers of higher
modulus (including PP, PS, and ABS) to meet certain property and appearance
specifications. The higher polymer costs are offset, to some degree, by designing
engineered profiles that reduce weight while maintaining board stiffness.

2.8.6. Oriented Woodfibre-Polymer Composites

Dramatic improvements in flexural strength and flexural modulus have been emonstrated
by cold drawing extruded polypropylene-wood composite. The flexural modulus of an
oriented polypropylene composite with 30 percent wood fibre can achieve 82.5 percent of
the flex modulus of dried pine. The same material had a flexural strength that was more
than double that of pine. While not yet produced on a commercial basis, this new class of
woodfibre-polymer composites shows great promise by offering a dramatic improvement
in performance.

Polymer/Polymer Systems

This is an interesting new technology developed by Rutgers University, which discovered

that specific blends of polymers, normally thought to be incompatible (such as
polyethylene and polystyrene), can form composites with properties that dramatically
exceed the expected performance of the blend. Under the right conditions of mixing and
component levels, an inter-penetrating network of the polymer can achieve a better
balance of modulus and impact strength. This discovery is being successfully applied to
the manufacture of railway ties by Polywood, a New Jersey manufacturer of composite

2.9. Powder Coating Wood and Wood Composites:

2.9.1. Technique--
Powder coating is a technique whereby “Dry Paint” is electro-statically applied (by
Corona or Tribo techniques) to, in the main Metallic substrates. After electrostatic
spraying the ground powder could be described as a high Tg (>40ºC), non cross-linked,
non-coalesced particulate film. This loosely coherent layer is then melt fused by thermal
energy to form a highly viscous ‘liquid coating’ having a melt viscosity many orders of
magnitude greater than for a solvent borne coating processed at the same temperature. his
highly viscous material then increases in viscosity as it cross-links to form a three
dimensionally cross-linked, tough, chemically resistant film. This film exhibits excellent
mechanical properties when all cross-linked functional groups are cross-linked to ca. 90%
of conversion.

Powder coatings have been well established and are ‘mainstream’ for the coating of
metallic substrates e.g. Iron, Aluminium, Galvanized Steel and so on. Environmental
pressure and impending legislation, technical excellence and economic reasons have
forced a huge and extensive developmental programme to realize the goal of powder
coating Heat Sensitive Substrates.

2.9.2. Practical and Technical challenges: Powder Coating MDF

The coating of metallic substrates and the Powder technology for the coating of metallic
substrates is well developed. Some obvious difficulties and differences between powder
coating metallic substrates and MDF are as follows:
Metallic substrates are conductive (refer Table One); the surface resistance of MDF
needs to be adjusted (by either chemical doping and/or preheating techniques) to enable
the substrate to have suitable conductivity for efficient powder coating. To use a
straightforward analogy, metallic substrates are efficiently chemically pre-treated for
reasons of adhesion, corrosion control and the like. Quality control of this process for
metallic substrates is simple- checking chemical concentrations, deposition rates and so
on. The ‘pre-treatment’ is to ensure that it can be properly powder coated efficiently, this
process just as per the metallic analogy needs control and attention to detail.
Metallic substrates do not exhibit differential stress build up (edge/centre or
centre/panel face) upon thermal heating, MDF does. Incorrect or relatively minor
variability of heating regimes around the object to be powder coated will result in
differential stress and subsequent failure of the cured powder.
Infrared (usually medium wavelength IR) and convection ovens are commonly utilized
to provide the energy needed to cross-link powder coatings applied to metallic surfaces.
For MDF, IR technology (either Gas IR or Electric IR) is a prerequisite. Infrared emitter
technologies differ markedly from convection technology. Convection technology heats
the air, which in turn transmits this thermal energy to the part being powder coated (the
metallic substrate is, of course, thermally conductive as well). IR energy is either directly
absorbed or transmitted through the Powder to the substrate. It heats what it sees – i.e. all
surfaces which need to attain cure need ‘to see’ the IR source. Refer to table 1 for a list of
some materials and their thermal conductivity values.
The use of convection ovens with highly conductive metallic substrates means that
control of the ‘energy source’ is relatively simple. When using IR ovens to cure MDF
composite substrates the operator needs to carefully monitor the temperature of all
surfaces being painted. This is to ensure that all surfaces are being equally and evenly
cured. Incomplete chemical conversion (cross-linking) of the powder coated film
manifests itself as differential cure – differential cure will in effect, equate to internal
stress building up in the powder coated film – the net result being powder checking
and/or cracking.
Conventional powder coatings (as utilized for metallic substrates) are usually cured at
higher temperatures and for longer dwell times. I.e. the powder coating traditionally cures
@ 180 ºC for 10 minutes or 200 ºC for 10 minutes (metal temperature). MDF substrates
will not tolerate these harsh temperatures so lower temperature curing schedules and
more reactive powder coatings must be developed.

A variety of powder technologies have been investigated in the literature for use on
Heat Sensitive Substrates via thermal curing i.e. Anhydride chemistries, Uretdione,
Polyacrylate GMA etc. In general terms powder coatings utilize high Tg resin systems
(Tg>50 ºC) to ensure that the powder coating material does not undergo agglomeration or
pre-reaction at the molecular level during storage conditions. Lower temperature cure
powder technologies must still pass standard storage condition protocols to be
commercially viable.
Conventional powder coating technologies can be ‘catalyzed’ to cure at lower
temperatures. The Powder Coating system needs to have negligible ‘activity’ during
melt/shear extrudate processing (for short dwell times at ca. 120-130 ºC). It is expected
that there will be some partial cross-linking during pre-reaction in the extruder as
typically reaction rates follow classical Arrhenius temperature dependence. (This is a
logical statement as we are curing these coatings at temperatures approaching 120 ºC)
.The result of this ‘pre-reaction’ will be a building in cross-link density and a subsequent
melt viscosity increase. What this means to the customer, of course, is poorer flow or
orange peel. (This summary is ‘holistically simplistic’ – Resin and Coating suppliers
have spent countless man-hours developing resin systems (I.e. semi crystalline,
crystalline, hyper branched polymers etc) with “rapid melt viscosity drop” profiles so that
suitable resins can be utilized for coating Heat Sensitive Substrates).
MDF is a highly complex, somewhat variable substrate, this can best be realized when
one views the typical specifications of commercial MDF. Some highlights are of interest
– MDF differs markedly in density (from ca. 650-850kg/m³) usually this is related to
varied MDF thicknesses (typically from 3mm through > 30mm). Humidity content within
the MDF board varies considerably with relative humidity, (MDF will reach equilibrium
moisture content (EMC) with the surrounding environment); Factors that are of particular
concern with powder coating MDF are:
a. Type of MDF substrate (MDF, MUF, Particle Board, etc.) and constituents/additives.
b. Moisture content, which is known to relate to conductivity and potentially blistering
and out gassing issues during the curing process.
c. Fibre size/porosity/fibre grain raise related to surface finish.
d. If pre-conditioning is too severe then the edges will loose moisture in preference to the
centre of the board.
e. Rough, routed edges can be hard to dress, and can suffer from porosity issues.
Some advantages of powder coatings over other coating materials is as follows:
a. Powder is nil to very low in VOC
b. Depending upon the formulation the overspray can be recycled, hence utilization of
powder can approach 95%+.

c. Waste from powder coating operations is easily discarded in an environmentally
friendly manner.
d. Excellent coating properties can be afforded by this technology.
e. Single coat systems, high in film build (>100μm) can be processed in one layer on
awkward, geometrically complex surfaces.

2.9.3. Commercial Realities created by LTCP--

During the past few years there has been a growing awareness of the need to expand the
flexibility of supply of MDF panel products to the furniture & Joinery market segment.
Indeed the uptake of powder coated MDF panels has been swift once designers and
specifiers saw the inherent flexibility that LTCP brings to the table, particularly where
colour choice and minimum run sizes are concerned. Core to this has been the metallic
and speckle effect LTCP finished panels now supplied into the market. It has been this
aesthetic as well as cost flexibility that has won over the adopters. Whilst powder coated
MDF opens up opportunities for edge-finished components, particularly for the Kitchen,
office furniture, and POS (point-of-sale) display areas, there are still challenges with
industry acceptance. Edge taping (or banding) is universally accepted and there is little
financial incentive for fabricators to move away from this lucrative process in their
businesses. As New Zealand and Australian companies compete with the influx of
product from international countries, particularly Asia based, new manufacturing
techniques such as “Nesting” are becoming commonplace in local fabricator plants.
Nesting is highly efficient and pre-finished nested components are cheaper to produce
than corresponding edge finished components overall.

Climate Coating Limited has invested heavily in developing its “Climate Application
Process” to successfully apply LTCP to a variety of different variable wood fibre based
substrates, including MDF, with out sacrificing the performance properties of the
underlying substrate. This has been achieved with out the need to develop specialized
expensive substrates. Proprietary new instrumental techniques have been developed with
partner companies to measure panel moisture content AND conductivity in a non-
destructive, non-contact way. This together with highly sensitive, Resistance
spectroscopy instruments enables the successful application of the LTCP’s to the various
types of MDF and other substrates. It cannot be more important to note that the success
of LTCP over MDF requires the partnership of the LTCP supplier and applications
specialists to enable a truly successful solution that meets market acceptability
requirements. There is numerous end use applications for the LTCP coated MDF, a few
examples of actual Climate Coating Limited element™ panels (LTCP coated MDF) are
shown in figs 2-7; Kitchens, interior claddings, POS display, retail store fit outs,
residential and commercial furniture.

Other composite substrates successfully coated with LTCP coatings include plywood and
Gypsum panels, both extensively used in the interior claddings markets.

So, commercial application of LTCP over composite Plywood is forging its way into the
housing interior and exterior claddings market. Other substrates are also soon to be
launched into expanded end use markets.

LTCP coated MDF is a substrate, which more so is being utilized for a number of
cost effective end-use application.

3.1. Wood-Polymer Composite: Physical and Mechanical Properties of
Some Wood Species Impregnated with Styrene and Methylmethacrylate
Brazil has considerable reserves of tropical species. However, selective and predatory
exploitation has reduced the offer of traditional species, of which demand still persists.
The reserves of some of these species have therefore become almost completely depleted,
causing prices to soar prohibitively and making the use of these raw materials unfeasible.
In the search for solutions to this issue, the South and Southeastern regions have fallen
back on reforested species, particularly the genera Eucalyptus and Pinus. Increasing
interest has focused on the study of Wood-Polymer Composites (WPC) obtained from
reforested species for the aforementioned reasons. However, for this alternative to be
feasible on an industrial scale, it is essential that the performance of WPCs be well
characterized, from their production process to the requisites for their various
applications in the construction and furniture industries, among others. The work reported
on here, developed in the Wood and Timber Structures Laboratory (LaMEM) of the São
Carlos School of Engineering (EESC), University of São Paulo (USP), aims at
demonstrating the possibility of producing WPC with superior mechanical properties to
those of untreated wood, using reforested species of the genera Eucalyptus and Pinus and
in situ polimerization of styrene and methyl methacrylate monomers

3.1.1. Materials and Methods

Tests were carried out on samples of reforested Eucalyptus grandis and Pinus caribaea
obtained from the Itirapina nursery of the São Paulo Forest Institute, some of them not
impregnated and others impregnated with styrene and methyl methacrylate monomers.

.Eucalyptus grandis
Eucalyptus grandis, within the class of the dicotyledons, has a parenchyma that is visible
under a hand lens, vasicentric, scanty and occasionally dispersed. Its pores are visible to
the naked eye, numerous and of medium size, predominantly solitary, frequently
containing resins and sometimes obstructed by tyloses; rays visible under a hand lens in
the cross section and the tangential face; and a strong pink colored heartwood. This
species occurs in the reforested areas of southern and southeastern Brazil15.

.Pinus caribaea
Pinus caribaea, classified as a conifer, lacks parenchyma and pores. It has very small
tracheids with a slightly radial orientation that are individually indistinguishable to the
naked eye but visible under a hand lens, almost indistinguishable rays at the cross section
and on the tangential face, growth layers marked by initial and late xylem with variable
thicknesses, a medium texture, and a beige colored core slightly resinous and with a
pleasant odor15.

Monomers and initiator
Styrene, methyl methacrylate, and benzoyl peroxide were obtained from Companhia
Brasileira de Estireno, Companhia Química Metacril and Degussa Initiators Ltda.,

3.1.2. Removal and identification of the test specimens

The samples were prepared according to the specifications of Attachment B of the
Brazilian NBR 7190:1997 standard16. The test specimens (TP) were taken from twelve
pieces of each wood species, with nominal dimensions of 5 cm × 12 cm × 180 cm, each
piece yielding three bars. Each bar supplied a set of three samples for each type of
impregnation, totaling 576 test specimens, i.e., 12 sets of samples for each of the wood
species studied, as illustrated in Fig. 1. Each test specimen was identified with a capital
letter (corresponding to the beam), a small letter (corresponding to the type of test) and a
number (corresponding to the type of impregnation). The samples identified with the
number 1 were tested without impregnation, those displaying the number 2 were
impregnated with styrene monomer, and the ones bearing the number 3 were impregnated
with methyl methacrylate.

3.1.3. Phases of the test specimens’ impregnation and polymerization process

Before the wood was impregnated with the monomer, part of the water had to be
removed from its pores due to the wood’s moisture content. The test specimens were
therefore oven-dried at a temperature of 40 °C until their moisture content decreased to
12%. The oven’s temperature was gradually raised to 50 °C to reduce the possibility of
cracking or warping. The method utilized to impregnate the monomer-initiator solution
was vacuum-pressure. The autoclave employed for the impregnation work had a capacity
of 159,000 mL. A total volume of 20,520 mL of each wood species was placed in the
autoclave, which was then closed and the air removed from its interior. When vacuum
was reached, the monomerinitiator solution (20,520 mL of monomer + 255 g of benzoyl
peroxide)17, was injected into the autoclave for each wood species. A pressure of 0.66
MPa was then applied for 30 min to complete the impregnation process. The test
specimens were then removed from the autoclave and wiped with paper towels to remove
any excess impregnation resin. The next step consisted of weighing the test specimens,
wrapping them in aluminum foil and placing them in the oven, where they were left for
48 h at a temperature of 60 °C. The samples were then removed from the oven,
unwrapped, weighed and put back into the oven for another period of 72 h at 50 °C to
consolidate the polymerization process inside the wood. Finally, the samples were
removed from the oven, weighed, and their dimensions measured, in preparation for the
tests to obtain the desired properties.

3.1.4. Tests to determine the properties of impregnated and non-impregnated wood

Tests were carried out to determine the following properties: Density (ρ); Total radial
shrinkage (εr,2); Total tangential shrinkage (εr,3); Total radial swelling (εi,2); Total
tangential swelling (εi,3); Strength in compression parallel to grain (fc0); Modulus of
elasticity in compression parallel to grain (Ec0); Strength in tension parallel to grain (ft0);

Modulus of elasticity in tension parallel to grain (Et0); Strength in tension perpendicular
to grain (ft90); Shear strength (fv0); Toughness (W); Impact bending (fbw); Hardness
parallel to grain (fH0) and Hardness perpendicular to grain (fH90). The tests were
performed following the specifications of Attachment B of the Brazilian NBR 7190:1997
standard16. The toughness was calculated based on the ASTM D143-52:1981

3.1.5. Procedures for analyzing the results

The results were analyzed using the pairing test, procedure commonly employed in such
cases19. The test consists of making a comparative analysis of the test specimens
nonimpregnated and impregnated with styrene and methyl methacrylate monomers to
discover whether the difference between the averages of the physical and mechanical
properties under study could be null, evidencing that they can be admitted to be
statistically equivalent. The first step in order to apply this methodology consists in
calculating the difference between two population means (impregnated and non-
impregnated specimens). Values obtained in this way are considered as a third

The second step consists in estimating the mean and confidence interval of this
population, which is obtained through the following expression:

Where: X m is the sample mean of the third population, Sm is the sample standard
deviation of this population, n is the sample size, α is the confidence level usually
adopted 95% and is the percentage point of the t distribution with n-1 degrees of freedom.
Analysis is carried out using this interval. If zero belongs to it, the means of the two
populations (impregnated and non-impregnated) can be considered as equivalent. If zero
does not belong to the interval, these means can be considered as different.

3.1.6. Presentation and Discussion of the Results
Tests were carried out on a total of 576 samples, 288 of Eucalyptus grandis (EG) and 288
of Pinus caribaea (PC), with 96 samples of each species without impregnation (wi), 96
impregnated with styrene monomer (i-E) and 96 impregnated with methyl methacrylate
monomer (i-M). Small variations in the toughness values caused by differences in the
nominal dimensions of the samples were corrected20. The results obtained from the tests
performed to determine the physical and mechanical properties of the wood at 12%
moisture content are listed as follows:

Eucalyptus grandis
Tables 1 and 2 list the results and pairing tests obtained when comparing samples of
Eucalyptus grandis without impregnation and impregnated, respectively, with styrene
and methyl methacrylate monomers. The statistical analysis revealed that, except for the
hardness parallel (fH0) and perpendicular to grain (fH90), all the other properties studied
showed a zero within the confidence interval of the mean differences. Hence, equivalence
is admitted between the properties of the wood without impregnation and impregnated
with the two monomers involved in this study. The analysis of the microscopic structure
of the nonimpregnated samples of Eucalyptus grandis compared with the samples
impregnated with the styrene and methyl methacrylate monomers shown in Fig. 2
revealed that there was little penetration and subsequent polymerization of the monomers
inside the wood’s anatomical structure. However, some of the pores are clearly filled
with polystyrene and with polymethyl methacrylate. The reason for this poor penetration
is that, despite the large quantity of fibers, their mall diameter almost completely
precludes impregnation. In addition, the interior of the pores may present contents
generically called gum-resins.

Pinus caribaea
Tables 3 and 4 show the results and pairing tests obtained when comparing samples of
Pinus caribaea nonimpregnated and impregnated with styrene and methyl methacrylate
monomers, respectively. The statistical analysis indicated that the confidence interval of

the mean differences did not contain zero for any of the physical and mechanical
properties studied. fore, one can Therefore, one can state a statistical non-equivalence
between the properties of the wood without
impregnation and impregnated with the
styrene and methyl methacrylate monomers.
The analysis of the microscopic structure of
the nonimpregnated samples of Pinus
caribaea compared with the samples
impregnated with the styrene and methyl
methacrylate monomers shown in Fig. 3
indicated that penetration and subsequent
polymerization of the monomers occurred
inside the wood’s anatomical structure. This
Pine species has a permeable structure,
facilitating its impregnation and the
subsequent retention of the polystyrene and
the polymethyl methacrylate.

3.1.7. Discussion of above topic

The results obtained for Eucalyptus grandis

showed a statistically non-significant variation
in all the properties studied here between
impregnated and non-impregnated wood,
except for the hardness parallel and
perpendicular to grain. This poor outcome
can, in principle, be attributed to the merely
superficial penetration of the aforementioned
monomers as a result of the species’
anatomical peculiarities (small diameter fibers and ends, and vessels or pores frequently
containing resins). The presence of styrene and methyl methacrylate in these regions
caused minor variations of the measured properties. The comparison between Pinus
caribaea impregnated with the aforementioned monomers showed a significant increase
in all the physical and mechanical properties related to the non-impregnated samples. The
dimensional stability of the composite increased in comparison with the untreated wood,
rendering it more impermeable to moisture absorption and retention. The two types of
impregnation led to a strong improvement in the wood’s hardness parallel and
perpendicular to grain, with an average percent increase of over 400% and 300%,
respectively, rendering this composite very interesting for flooring applications, for
instance. It is also worth noting that the incorporation of polystyrene and polymethyl
methacrylate was also highly satisfactory in Pinus caribaea, reaching an average of 80%
and 50%, respectively, in wood mass. Based on these results, it can be concluded that
Eucalyptus grandis does not exhibit performance suitable for this type of impregnation,
owing to its low permeability. Pinus caribaea, on the other hand, absorbs styrene and
methyl methacrylate monomers easily, indicating the efficiency of the wood

impregnation process and thus allowing
for its use in applications that require
materials with superior mechanical

4.1. Conclusion:

Composites have attractive mechanical and physical properties that are now being
utilized in industry and aerospace on a grand scale world-wide. New fibres, polymers,
and processing techniques for all classes of composites are constantly being developed.
Research is also ongoing to improve repair techniques, recyclability, and the bonding
between fibres and matrix materials. Moreover, standards are being set up for the testing
and computerization of mechanical- and corrosion-property databanks. Because of the
development of new fire-retarding constituents, the availability of polymers with higher
temperature ratings, the relative ease of fabrication, and the fair costs, PMCs are being
utilized more in structural and wear-resistant applications in mining and industrial
environments. There is no doubt that, if processing costs can be substantially reduced,
MMCs, WPCs and CMCs will be increasingly employed in applications that require light
weight in addition to toughness and wear- and abrasion-resistant properties. CMCs will
increasingly be used for high-temperature, oxidation-resistant, and wear- and abrasion-
resistant applications where good corrosion resistance is also required.

Leading international companies involved in the traditional manufacture of metal and

ceramic parts are already positioning themselves to obtain a market share. The new
applications that are being found on an almost daily basis, and the continuous reporting
of company investments and new ventures into the manufacture of MMC and CMC parts,
tend to indicate that important progress has been made towards the reduction of
processing and manufacturing costs. These developments have been noticed by the
mining industry in South Africa. However, it is important to realize that the use of
composites requires an integrated approach between user and designer/manufacturer to
ensure functionality. This entails knowledge of the structural efficiency of the material,
its isotropic or anisotropic behavior, environmental effects, and its manufacturing
requirements, assembly, and repair. The application of composites to the mining
environment and industries in the whole world can result in many long-term cost-related
advantages. The question arises as to whether we in the world are being unnecessarily
conservative in sticking to tried materials.

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