- Plastic lumber
Plastic Lumber (commonly abbreviated as PL) is a 100% recyclable
material lumberor timbermade of recycled plastic.
There are also applications in the market, which utilize only virgin raw materials. Its most widespread use is in outdoor deck floors, but it is also used for railings, fences, landscaping timbers,
claddingand siding, park benches, molding and trim, windowand doorframes, and indoor furniture. Manufacturers claim that plastic lumber is more environmentally friendly and requires less maintenance than the alternatives of wood/plastic composites or solid wood of rot-resistant species. Impervious to cracking and splitting (with correct installation), these materials can be molded with or without simulated wood grain details. Even with the wood grain design these materials are still visually easy to distinguish from natural timber as the grains are the same uniform color as the rest of the material. Well-known trade names include MAXiTUF and Bear Board.
Plastic Lumber is still a very new material relative to the long history of natural lumber as a building material but can be substituted in many instances. Besides being 100% resistant to rot, the major advantage of this category of building materials is its ability to add another stage of reusability. Unlike wood-plastic composite lumber, plastic lumber is 100% recyclable after its original intended use.
Plastic lumber is composed of virgin or waste plastics including high-density
polyethylene, PVC, PP, ABS, PS and PLA. The powder or pellets are mixed to a dough-like consistency at roughly 400 degrees F and then extruded or molded to the desired shape. Additives such as colorants, coupling agents, stabilizers, blowing agents, reinforcing agents, foaming agents, lubricants help tailor the end product to the target area of application. The material is formed into both solid and hollow profiles or into injection molded parts and products.
Resin, regrind, and most of the additives are combined and processed in a pelletizing extruder. The new material pellets are formed in mold and cooled. Pre-distribution testing can help determine the optimal combination of chemical agents, design, agitation and other flow aid strategies for the specific material in use. Modern testing facilities are available to evaluate materials and determine the optimal combination of equipment components to assure the highest level of accuracy and reliability. Computerized performance test reports document equipment performance.
A major advantage over wood is the ability of the material to be molded to meet almost any desired spatial conditions. It can also be bent and fixed to form strong arching curves. Plastic lumber behaves like wood and can be shaped using conventional woodworking tools. At the same time, it is water proof and resists all types of rot and mold, although they are not as rigid as wood and may slightly deform in extremely hot weather. The material is not sensitive to staining from a variety of agents. A major selling point of this material is its lack of need of paint as it is manufactured in a variety of colors, but are widely available in grays and earth tones.
Fiber reinforced compositeRecyclable Alternative to Wood Plastic Composite
* [http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Plastic/Recycled/Lumber/ Recycled Plastic Lumber info by CA Waste Management]
* [http://www.rescoplastics.com Resco Plastics : MAXiTUF 100% Recycled Plastic Lumber]
* [http://www.healthybuilding.net/plastic_lumber.html Healthy Building Network - Plastic Lumber Guide]
* [http://http://www.metrokc.gov/procure/green/plastic.htm King County, WA Plastic lumber INFO]
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