Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) can be applicable to any product that contains (A) Wood with a (B) Thermoset or (C) Thermoplastic.
(A) Hardwood is selected as they have good durability and strength properties. This hardwood is then transformed into fine particles which are about the size ranging from sand, sawdust to grains of rice.
WPCs can be found predominantly used for decking but other markets have emerged such as wall cladding, trimmings, outdoor / indoor furnitures and interiors for the automotive industry.
The amount of manufacturers is increasing exponentially throughout the world due to demand and the availability of automated machinery. Specifically, there are companies such as WPC.asia offer profile extrusion, pelletizing machines and raw products such as antioxidants, composite pellets and resin. Most of the manufacturers who manufacturer come from China, Japan and North America.
In Australia, you can find the following suppliers / manufacturers:
Research conducted by David Burke (2011) analysed the properties and differences between Kiln dried hardwood and Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs), specifically compared the brand ModWood for furniture and construction applications. Given that the chemical composition and structure of different brands of WPCs are almost the same the table below gives a good comparison between two widely used products:
|Ease of machining||B||A|
Analysis of the table above indicates that WPCs have good resistance to environmental conditions and termites when compared to hardwood. Thus, better longevity can be achieved with the use of WPCs. Hardwood is considered to be easier to machine and glue can be used in the construction process. Also there is better heat dissipation than you would expect in WPCs. For an Australian discussion on the subject check out Modwood vs Hardwood Decking on Whirlpool.
Many traditionalists take a hardened position stating that nothing can substitute the look, feel and character of natural hardwood and the regular ongoing maintenance is worth having with a traditional hardwood deck. While others enjoy the consistency, low maintenance and resistance properties that a composite deck can offer.
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