Flexural Creep Behavior of HDPE Lumber and WPC Lumber made from Thermally Modified Wood
Publication Name: Construction & Building Materials
Publication URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4360/12/2/262
The use of wood plastic composite lumber as a structural member material in marine applications is challenging due to the tendency of wood plastic composites (WPCs) to creep and absorb water. A novel patent-pending WPC formulation that combines a thermally modified wood flour (as a cellulosic material) and a high strength styrenic copolymer (high impact polystyrene and styrene maleic anhydride) have been developed with advantageous viscoelastic properties (low initial creep compliance and creep rate) compared with the conventional WPCs. In this study, the creep behavior of the WPC and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) lumber in flexure was characterized and compared. Three sample groupings of WPC and HDPE lumber were subjected to three levels of creep stress; 7.5, 15, and 30% of the ultimate flexural strength (Fb) for a duration of 180 days. Because of the relatively low initial creep compliance of the WPC specimens (five times less) compared with the initial creep compliance of HDPE specimens, the creep deformation of HDPE specimens was six times higher than the creep deformation of WPC specimens at the 30% creep stress level. A Power Law model predicted that the strain (3%) to failure in the HDPE lumber would occur in 1.5 years at 30% Fb flexural stress while the predicted strain (1%) failure for the WPC lumber would occur in 150 years. The findings of this study suggest using the WPC lumber in structural application to replace the HDPE lumber in flexure attributable to the low time-dependent deformation when the applied stress value is withing the linear region of the stress-strain relationship.