New patent for fence, deck wood compositeDeveloped at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Centre, a new process involves combining wood and plastic in a manner that strengthens and stiffens the final product by polymer cross-linking, which reduces the weight because bubbles are formed in the mixture.
Researchers have been developing composite materials for use in plastic fencing and decks for the past decade by mixing sawdust and plastic. While those materials are more durable and easier to maintain than natural wood, the past composites tend to lack strength and stiffness and can warp after long-term exposure to sun and heat, the researchers said.
The new process creates a composite that improves on those products, and the technology is being considered by several manufacturers, according to the researchers.
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