Technology, product and process
Wood plastic composite (WPC) is composed of wood (virgin or waste) or other cellulose-based fibre fillers such as pulp fibres, peanut hulls, bamboo and straw and virgin or waste plastics including high-density polyethylene, PVC, PP, ABS, PS and PLA. There are a number of advantages of classical WPC products. Profiles can be made with filled and hollow sections giving saving to product weight. Full recycling of the material is possible during processing. WPC products have high weather and UV resistance and are splinter proof in comparison with some other bio based materials. Better dimensional stability than solid wood and plastics is another advantage. WPC has longer life time in comparison with timber decking, needs less time and costs for maintenance and cleaning. More design colours are available and WPC products have no association with toxic chemicals.
The proposed incorporation of the used tyre rubber as raw materials for the production of WPC will produce new type of rubber wood plastic composite (RubWPC). This is an entirely new concept and the resulted products have many additional properties beyond the existing WPC. Processing of RubWPC will be based on the modified extrusion process used for processing classical WPC as the lead partner, Ecodek, is currently manufacturing. The existing WPC production line will be adjusted to incorporate specific thermal process, blending and feeding of rubber crumb and/or granulate and for use of additives improving interfaces among all the raw material constituents.
Extrusion process is able to carry out a continuing mass production with various geometries and dimensions of composites. The continuing extrusion of RubWPC by fusing rubber with wood and plastic is a new attempt. The success of this production will provide significant opportunity for high volume consumption of the used tyre and such eliminate the burden for the disposal of the used tyre waste. Incorporation of recycled rubber will change mechanical properties by improving wear resistance of exposed surfaces, impact properties and vibration damping. Functional properties like traction are improved and are controllable by ratio and/or size of the rubber exposed at the surface of composite element. Material can be used as decking and hollow sections for indoor, outdoor in building construction and some automotive applications. In addition to where WPC is used, RubWPC can be used in where a specific characteristic is required (e.g. nursing house for a slip resistant surface, studio for improved acoustic effect).