Wood composites include a range of different derivative wood products, all of which are created by binding the strands, fibers or boards of wood together. The ability of wood composites to be tailored to specific uses, together with their strength properties and affordability, makes them a sustainable solution to reducing the need for solid wood. Over time since the process for producing it was patented in Milan in 1960, WPCs have been successfully applied in all forms of building, from small home projects to industrial construction work, all over the globe. As technology in manufacturing them advances, here are 2 amazing facts you need to know about WPCs and how you can take advantage of them during construction.
1. It is man-made
One of the main advantages of wood composite is that it is man manufactured. Instead of the manual cutting of real wood, WPCs use technology to replicate the look of wood but make it more versatile. WPCs can be designed for specific design requirements. It can be produced in various thicknesses, grades, sizes and exposure disabilities, as well as manufactured to take advantage of the natural strength characteristics of wood (while not lacking the natural look and color of real wood). Therefore, it can be used in different projects, enabling more design options without sacrificing structural requirements.
The technology used to process WPCs was first invented and patented in Milan by Covema of Milan, founded by Terragni brothers (Dino and Marco). Covema called WPC under the tradename Plastic-Wood. Later on, different countries followed suit, with different technologies and fillers. Japan contended, with its high-tech processes and laboratories. Their keen attention to details also prompted them to conduct various tests and set standards to qualify recycled composite woods and plastics.
The product, called wood hybrids, have the look and feel of natural wood.
2. WPC is not entirely made out of just pure wood and plastic.
WPCs are composite materials made of wood fiber/wood flour and thermoplastic(s) such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or polylactic acid (PLA). In addition to wood fiber and plastic, WPCs can also contain other ligno-cellulosic and/or inorganic filler materials. Regular WPCs are created from a unique blend of natural wood and plastic fibers. But today, different manufacturers use different fillers and cores to go with the times and needs of today’s modern built environment.
3. WPC is as durable as (if not more than) real timber.
Cheap isn’t necessarily substandard. Composite wood, while manmade, is less likely to fade or warp over time and far more resistant to rot, decay and marine borer attack than real wood. It means you don’t have to put as much energy or money into maintaining it over time. This therefore reduces the overall costs of your construction. Wood composites also tend to be cheaper than high-quality solid wood due to the affordability of wood scrap material and the manufacturing process.
4. It is more sustainable.
There is no doubt that one of the greatest advantages of composite wood is its environmental impact, as it can be produced from smaller trees when compared to solid lumber and doesn’t require the felling of large, old-growth forests. It can also be made from wood that has defects and would otherwise be discarded, as well as species that have not traditionally been used for solid wood. But its environmental impact depends largely on the ratio of renewable to non-renewable materials used in its construction, with petroleum-based polymers having a negative impact because of their reliance on non-renewable raw materials.
5. Design Compatibility
W.H.T. can be bent in the same way as other aluminum materials based on a range of designs without losing the timber design features of the surface layer.
Credit to : Design + Construction Magazine