Wood-plastic composite (WPC) refers to boards and lumber made from recycled plastic and made of small wood particles or fibers. Compared to the long history of products such as; natural lumber or traditional wooden products such as particleboard and fiber laminates, wood-plastic composites are relatively new products. This text summarizes some of the basic manufacturing process, physical and mechanical properties of basic application of WPC. Wood-plastic composites are widely used in the United States they are made by mixing powdered wood particles with recycled plastics. The North American wood-plastic composite market has reached to almost $ 1 billion. By increasing capacity of wood-plastic composite, new products such as door frames, fences and window frames have been developed.
Some advantages and disadvantages of wood-plastic composite
The greatest advantage of WPC is the environmental adjustment, through the manufacture of waste wood and recycled plastic materials. Wood-plastic composite has lower maintenance cost than hard wood. One of the main reasons for the rapid growth of wood-plastic composite is its low cost in the life cycle of this composite. In general, a wood-plastic composite deck has a production cost of about 15% more than a pressurized wood deck. But it requires lower maintenance costs. The actual repayment period of this composite in compare to wooden products made through pressurized method in the deck construction, was estimated to be around 3 to 5 years. Higher dimensional stability with less variety of this composite can also be considered as one of the main advantages of plastic wood products.
Much research in many countries has focused on the durability and longevity of plastic wood composites and the increased interest in using them in open spaces.