Green composite using thinned wood with PP


Green composite using thinned wood with PP

(The image above was referred from Shutterstock)


Today, I would like to introduce the company of Japanese company of i-Compology Corporation which produces green composite materials for injection molding.


The company of i-Compology Corporation and green composite information can be reviewed as below.


Capability for injection

The most important feature of their green composite materials should be “Availability for injection molding”.

The green composite materials are made of wood flours and thermoplastic resins.
And it called as i-WPC (wood plastic composite).

Normally thermoplastic composites will be molded by press, pultrusion or extrusion.

But many of the molding process above would not be proper for mass production.

Injection molding should be one of the best processes which leads to extremely fast mass production possiblility.

i-WPC by i-Compology has the advantage that the materials can be applied to injection moldings.



Good adhesion even though polyolefin based matrix resins

Matrix resins of i-WPC are Polypropylene (PP).
PP is one of the representative polyolefin polymers which are negative against adhesion basically.

But the green composite materials can be bonded if wood flours as reinforcements exists on the surface by pre-adhesion process like sanding.

If bonding is possible, this feature would lead to multi-material components applications.



Properties of i-WPC

Basic properties can be reviewed in the page below.

The material character is updated under the condition that PP matrix resin system with wood flour are 31 or 51 wt% respectively.

Density of composites increased as wood flour adding because wood density is bigger than PP, though composite density is up to 1.1 with 51% wood flour.

Tensile strength, yield strength, charpy impact properties don’t show any specific change as composite configuration (partially composite properties are less than neat PP resins).

On the other hands, bending modulus has been changed drastically.
This property is increased by 20% with more than 200% with 31% and 51% wood flour respectively.

Heat distortion temperature (HDT) is also improved.
The property is improved 15 degree C and 30 degree C with with 31% and 51% wood flour respectively under 0.45MPa loading.

Property improvement above indicates that wood flour has the function as reinforcement in composites.



Issues of thinned wood application and recycling in Japan

The total area of 67% is forest in Japan, so forest maintenance is especially important job currently there.

And thinning forest is representative maintenance action for forests.

It is slow to grow by exposing the entire tree to sunlight and promoting growth above a certain level.
Or thinning the dying tree,It will promote the further growth of the remaining trees.

Results of thinning is expected as below;

1. Cutting old and dying trees creates a sunny place.
2. Seeds fly away.
3. In the spring, the buds will appear all over the place where the sun has come.
4. The places and buds that were in the shade until now hit the sun and grew further.


By the result of thinning, we need to think about how to apply thinned woods.

i-WPC is planned to apply thinned wood as reinforcements.

Matrix resins of i-WPC is easier for material or thermal recycling than thermosetting one.
Carbon offset can be also possible by applying thinned wood.


Currently thinning wood industry in Japan faced very severe status by the lack of manpower and short of budget.

Therefore, business plan for cash flow achievement should be must.

i-WPC is one of the key approaches to solve the issues above.

Such kind of approach would be also required countries which are facing similar problems.

i-WPC would be good example and approach for it, not only in Japan but also all over the world.

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