Studies of coatings, lifetime and circular economy of resin-wood composites

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

Wood is a sustainable resource. In making commercial products, resin-composites, coating and metal fixings are often used to enhance mechanical and lifetime properties as well as functionality. The resultant product therefore is a hybrid or composite material.

The project aims to develop a closed-loop manufacturing process where materials and energy input into the process are optimised, and the product can be fully recycled at the end of its lifetime, into useful materials for further use.
Industrially, resins form a crucial part of composite wood materials. Whilst curing resins is typically chemically and/or thermally driven, scaled curing will always be complicated by mass and energy transfer. A key aim is to control the resin cure at a cost and scale which is commercially viable, whilst maintaining the desired product form.
Wood composites are joined together using adhesives and/or metal fixings. The fixings and then material itself, must have commercially acceptable operational lifetimes and hence this project will also study material lifespan.

The Research Engineer will:
- Investigate thermal behaviour of resin-wood composites, to fully understand the resin curing in composite substrates;
- Study in-situ metrology against a programme of manufacturing optimisation. Data will be correlated with process variables to understand how these affect curing and resin-wood interactions, and in turn the resulting product parameters;
- Test product lifetime under accelerated weathering and coatings developed to enhance operational lifespan of the product.
- Study material recycling using chemical and thermal treatments.

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S02252X/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2028
2275837 Studentship EP/S02252X/1 30/09/2019 30/07/2021 Robert David Wolverson