Effects of raw materials and process parameters on the physical and mechanical properties of flat pressed Wood Plastic CompositesenWPC panels
For the production of WPC, the flat pressing technology can be considered as an alternative to common techniques, particularly when manufacturing large-dimensioned panels. The aim of the present study was to identify and analyze the main influencing parameters on sheets made of wood flour (WF) imbedded in a polypropylene matrix. Test panels were made to measure the effects of panel density, polymer melt flow rate (MFR), WF content, coupling agent, WF size and press temperature on water absorption (WA), thickness swelling (TS), internal bond strength, MOE and MOR. Density, WF content and MFR were identified as main influencing parameters. The increase of density typically leads to an improvement of properties. Lower WF contents cause reduced WA and TS, while the MOE seems to have a maximum at a WF level of 5070%, depending on raw material used. As an explanation for improving properties when using a high-MFR polymer, a better distribution on the wood surface is hypothesized.