A Novel Approach To Manufacture Recycled Composite Timbers for Structural Applications

EPA Contract Number: 68D03022
Title: A Novel Approach To Manufacture Recycled Composite Timbers for Structural Applications
Investigators: Krishnaswamy, Prabhat
Small Business: Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus (EMC2)
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2003 through September 1, 2003
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2003) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus' (Emc2) approach is to convert both municipal and industrial solid waste products into large dimensional composite timbers for structural and waterfront applications through a novel and efficient manufacturing process. The environmental benefits include: (1) diversion of solid waste plastics and reinforcements from landfills; (2) pollution prevention as a substitute for copper-,
chromium-, and arsenic-treated timbers; and (3) conservation of natural resources and rainforests.

This feasibility study will investigate methods for joining structural-grade recycled plastic lumber (SG-RPL) that will result in a high production rate for laminated recycled composite timbers (RCTs). The specific target markets for RCTs are marine and waterfront structural components such as fender piling, bearing piles, and other large dimensional components. This market is estimated to be in excess of $40 billion, and the need for alternate, durable, and environmentally friendly materials with long service life is particularly acute due to premature failure of traditional material systems.

A novel, patentable formulation with postindustrial and postconsumer waste stream already has been developed by the Principal Investigator along with a private-sector client for manufacturing smaller dimension, cost-competitive, high-performance SG-RPL. A pilot plant for this product also has been installed. Emc2's approach is to demonstrate that the use of plastics welding technology to convert the SG-RPL from existing production to large dimensional RCTs at extremely high production rates is technically feasible and commercially viable. Thus, a commercialization partner for the technology to be developed during Phases I and II already has been identified and will work cooperatively from project inception to the marketing of end products.

The anticipated results from Phase I are to prove the feasibility of the appropriate welding technology that results in a high-performance RCT as well as its scalabilitv for commercial manufacture. During Phase II, prototype equipment will be fabricated for manufacturing RCTs from SG-RPL, and field trials in a variety of applications will be conducted.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, recycled composite timbers, RCTs, municipal solid waste, industrial solid waste, pollution prevention, structural-grade recycled plastic lumber, SG-RPL, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Municipal, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, recycling, Environmental Engineering, scrap prepreg, municipal waste plastics, commingled plastic, recycled plastics, environmentally conscious manufacturing, clean technology, municipal waste, commingled plastics, alternative materials, plastics, construction material, recycled composite timbers, plastic lumber, green technology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report