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Wood Joins Plastics for Injection Molded Composites

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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Advanced materials in a one-person shop
Rob Spiegel   8/2/2011 10:53:56 AM
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This is great. We get a story of advances in material and it's coming from a one-person company. Is this the new Bill Hewlett/Dave Packard garage? Instead of getting next-generation computers, we're getting next-generation materials out of a garage.

Douglas Smock
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Platinum
Re: Advanced materials in a one-person shop
Douglas Smock   8/2/2011 11:29:56 AM
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It's a great thing about plastics and composites that so much technology still comes from independent inventors. Joyce's insight about the beneficial impact of inert gas on the polymer melt is not the kind of thing that would come from a huge company for a variety of reasons.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Advanced materials in a one-person shop
Beth Stackpole   8/2/2011 12:20:01 PM
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Sounds like Joyce has that conviction you noted earlier in another post, Doug. What does he do in his day job? Is he a materials engineer by trade or this just a hobby/passion?

SoCalPE
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Gold
Vacuum it?
SoCalPE   8/2/2011 3:22:27 PM
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I love stories about the garage-based inventors who develop a cool new invention.  This material is intriguing.  I wonder if a sheet could be vacuum formed or is there some porosity that would impede this?

Tim
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Biopolymer
Tim   8/2/2011 7:38:59 PM
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Processors are always looking for ways to produce parts while staying on the green side of the business.  This new material seems to have a lot of potential for throwaway packaging and other consumable designs.  The price is comparable to higher end HDPE products and the strength properties seem to be right in the same ballpark.

Robert J
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Iron
Re: Vacuum it?
Robert J   8/2/2011 8:08:07 PM
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No porosity issues..Vacuum forming would be a good application for the FibreTuff material....Insert molding would really show cost and performance benefits...see website for more info and contacts

Robert J
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Iron
Re: Advanced materials in a one-person shop
Robert J   8/2/2011 8:33:04 PM
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Hello Beth, Thanks for the question...My passion consumes 100% of my time and energy.....I have 6 yrs of college but do not have a formal 4 yr. engineering degree..learned by the school of hard knocks..repaired plastic machinery, compounded materials by trial and error. I have worked some ungodly hours, successfully started a machinery and compounding businesses. I am poor but not broke...but I love what I do...and love life's challenges.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Advanced materials in a one-person shop
Beth Stackpole   8/2/2011 9:47:14 PM
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Love the attitude, Robert J and admire your commitment. It sounds like you are on right track!

j-allen
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Gold
Re: Advanced materials in a one-person shop
j-allen   8/3/2011 9:35:12 AM
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The problem with existing composites made from sawdust is strength and stability.  Soldi hardwood has tensile strengths better than 10,000 PSI.  (some hickory samples reach 20,000.)  Even softwoods are good for 5000.  What are the mechanical properties of this new composite?  If it is comparable to real wood, then you have a winner, but if it costs half as much as wood but you need to use 3 times the cross section for the strength and rigidity, then it is not.

 

Around 1970 I worked on wood-plastic composites where we vacuum-pressure impregnated solid wood with a resin (polyester or acrylic) which we then polymerized in situ with ionizing radiation from an electron accelerator.  The result was stronger than the wood and impervious to moisture.  By irradiating the assembly after putting together the joinery, the excess resin bonded the joints.  The final product had the appearance of finished wood. 

We even achieved zonal hardening with, for example, a hard layer a few mm thick over softwood inside, or a tool handle hardened near the head yet lightweight for the rest of its length.  Unfortunately, the process was not cheap so it was restricted to special applications, such as wooden legs which, thanks to the Viet Nam War, were in great demand at the time.

William K.
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Platinum
Wood joins plastics for molded composites.
William K.   8/3/2011 10:40:41 AM
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This is very interesting, what we need now is information about durability, strenght, and surface finish. Also more information about the temperature handling capabilities.

Moisture is certainly a real problem in plastics molding, it has definitely rendered samples of other composites that I investigated unusable. Those were different enough that the only similarity was the wood fiber content. I mentioned the moisture concern as a point that does need more explanation. I would love to be able to design things using a wood0based composite that looked a bit like wood.

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