Composites Breakthrough Creates Cellulose Fiber Reinforcing AdditiveA form of thermoplastic composite that uses sustainably sourced cellulose fiber as a reinforcement additive has been developed by Weyerhaeuser Co., Federal Way, Wash.

Called Thrive composites, the product will initially be used in household goods and automotive parts. Weyerhaeuser will work with Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., as the Ford biomaterials research team investigates the use of the plastic composite material utilizing cellulose fibers from trees in place of fiberglass or mineral reinforcements.

Thrive also can be used in many composite plastic applications, including office furniture, kitchenware, small and large consumer appliances, and other industrial goods. According to the company, the new composites offer advantages over materials reinforced with short glass fibers or natural fibers such as sisal, hemp and kenaf. The product is available in masterbatch form for custom compounders and ready-to-mold thermoplastic pellets for molders. Thrive composites are offered as cellulose blended with polypropylene with both high and low melt flow indices.

According to the company, Weyerhaeuser will use its pulp manufacturing facilities and well-established global logistics channels to produce and deliver the product.