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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Is bamboo plastic composite WPC or BPC?

Wood-plastic composite (shortened as WPC) is commonly used as a definition for all natural (wood, bast, leaf, seed, fruit and stalk) fibers filled plastic composites. In the context of this definition "wood" represents all fibrous materials of plant origin. Today, however, "represented" would be a better word, since some non-wood fibers more actively come into play.  

For instance, some Chinese WPC makers specialized in manufacturing of bamboo plastic composites offer BPC (bamboo plastic composite), though, in many cases, a BPC will be explained as a WPC filled with bamboo powder as yet. Those manufacturers who use either wood flour or bamboo powder as a filler, in most cases would prefer using WPC name for their lumber.

Anyhow, today we may observe a trend of utilization of new names for lignocellulosic plastic composites, along with or instead of WPC. Strictly speaking, such names are more precise by definition. Besides, despite of similar chemical structure and composition, specific lignocellulosic fibers, bamboo fiber among others, are capable to enable plastic composite with improved physical or aesthetic properties, as compared to wood. Thus, principally they have the right to be addressed independently from wood.

Widespread awareness and utilization of English "WPC" abbreviation in its unchanged form in many languages keep most of non-wood filled WPC makers from not using the term completely.

It's not so long ago that WPCs were only put in contrast with natural wood, plastic, metal and other materials. Today we observe the rivalry inside «lignocellulosic family», because the rules of the game are set by the market. As competition grows, non-wood WPC manufacturers will not employ the name of fibers they use simply trying to be precise in naming of their composites. Rather they will be using this as an opportunity to differentiate their non-wood filled composites against WPC, focusing on the benefits their specific fiber brings, as compared to wood.

Product differentiation is somewhat inevitable. Recently even conventional wood-fiber based WPC lumber makers are forced to match their lumber products against each other. Today an advanced WPC manufacturer will offer you traditional WPC, capped WPC, heavy-duty WPC and some «super-brand» WPC, with the latter being the best WPC ever.

More at http://www.wpc.asia

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