Weyerhaeuser Makes Breakthrough in Thermoplastic Composites, Creates Specially Engineered Form of Cellulose Fiber as Reinforcing Additive

Oct 08 2012

Weyerhaeuser Company apprised about the launch of a proprietary, patent-pending form of thermoplastic composite that uses sustainably sourced cellulose fiber as a reinforcement additive. Called THRIVE composites; the product will initially be used in household goods and automotive parts. In addition, THRIVE can be used in a variety of composite plastic applications, including office furniture, kitchenware, small and large consumer appliances, and other industrial goods. THRIVE composites offer several advantages over materials reinforced with short glass fibers or natural fibers such as sisal, hemp and kenaf. The product is available in master batch form for custom compounders and ready-to-mold thermoplastic pellets for molders. “THRIVE composites are economical and widely available, and they are low mass yet demonstrate excellent tensile strength and flexural properties,” said Don Atkinson, vice president, marketing and new products for Weyerhaeuser’s Cellulose Fibers business. “These composites can improve molding cycle times up to 40 percent. Products made with THRIVE require less energy to produce and can reduce wear and tear on processing equipment when compared with those containing abrasive short glass fibers. These substantial benefits create significant advantages for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprints while enhancing performance and productivity.” THRIVE composites are currently available as cellulose blended with polypropylene with both high and low melt flow indices. Because cellulose fibers are compatible with various “workhorse” polymers, Weyerhaeuser plans to expand the THRIVE line of products beyond polypropylene to a range of hydrocarbon and nonhydrocarbon polymers.

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