Stronger, stiffer wood/plastic composites (WPC) can be made with a novel thermoplastic epoxy developed by L&L Products Inc., Romeo, Mich. L&L develops foamed acoustic, sealing, and structural materials for the automotive industry. L&L makes the TP epoxy for its own use by means of a reactive process. The resin is amorphous and very polar, with density of 1.2 g/cc, MFR range from 5 to 50 g/10 min, and a low Tg of 185 to 195 F, suitable for compounding with wood fibers without thermal degradation. The epoxy reportedly accepts high loadings of wood or other cellulose fiber without compatibilizers. Resulting thermoplastic compounds have three to four times more flexural strength and two to three times higher modulus than polyolefin WPC, L&L reports. Superior wetting of wood fibers by the epoxy is evident in the accompanying photomicrograph, as compared with HDPE-based WPC, in which individual wood fibers are clearly visible. The company presented data on 50/50 wood/epoxy compounds at the SPE Automotive Composites Conference in Auburn Hills, Mich., last fall. L&L will custom-formulate epoxy WPCs for other processors to use in injection molding, extrusion, or modifying other polar engineering resins, like nylons and polyesters. (586) 336-1700 • www.llproducts.com
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