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Development and testing of plastic lumber materials for construction applications

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Date

1997-06

Authors

Lampo, R. (Richard)
Nosker, Thomas J.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Construction Engineering Research Laboratories (U.S.)

Abstract

Abstract: Commingled post-consumer waste plastics are virtually worthless as recycling stock. Most waste plastics are landfilled, but U.S. landfill space is growing scarce and disposal costs are continually rising. One way to control disposal costs and waste volumes is to develop new products from plastic wastes. Some products of this type — construction materials called plastic lumber — have already reached the commercial market. Plastic lumber has some advantages over wood (e.g., it resists rot and insect attack), but its mechanical properties differ significantly from wood. A lack of technical information and design guidance have slowed construction industry adoption of plastic lumber. Research was conducted to develop plastic lumber stock from mixed waste plastics and verify its performance in select applications. It was found that (1) the compressive strength of the stock tested was equal or superior to wood, (2) the stiffness of plastic lumber is at least an order of magnitude lower than even the softest woods, and (3) plastic lumber is subject to much higher levels of creep than wood. Draft test methods, material specifications, and usage/design guidance developed in this work have been adopted by the American Society for Testing and Materials as industry standards.

Description

Technical Report

Keywords

Plastics--Testing, Building materials--Testing, Lumber

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