Morphology of wood species affecting wood-thermoplastic interaction: Microstructure and mechanical adhesion

William Gacitúa, Michael Wolcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The main objective of the research presented here was to relate anatomical features of wood species that affect the interactions between polymeric phases and performance of wood plastic composites (WPC). These interactions were related to the probable interlocking volume and surface area for stress transfer in a WPC. Composites were produced from different wood species and analyzed using SEM (scanning electron microscopy). Results showed that wood species with high interfacial areas may increase mechanical interlocking, reflected in the viscous constant of the Maxwell model. A complicating factor was that the relation of cell wall thickness-lumen diameter and the interconnectivity between wood cells in a wood, affect the potential for cell collapse. When wood cells collapse, the penetration of the thermoplastic into the wood structure was almost always ceased. The collapse of wood cells during extrusion-injection molding processes reduced the potential surface for stress transfer between phases affecting the mechanical properties of composites. Undamaged wood cells may potentially be filled with HDPE thermoplastic enhancing modulus and increase the strength of WPC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalMaderas: Ciencia y Tecnologia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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