Arkansas Patent of the Month – September 2021

There has been a rapid increase in the wood plastic composites (WPC) market as more and more potential applications are discovered. You can find WPCs in construction and automotive markets and in anything from decks to interior car trim. They are so popular due to their lower specific gravity and greater strength to weight ratio compared to mineral and glass filled alternatives. However, they do have limitations. We see issues when exposed to UV radiation and rapid mold and mildew growth. Most manufacturers apply a thin capstock layer to prevent direct UV exposure and create microbial resistance. Capstock layers unfortunately trap heat like no other, making a deck or other surface uncomfortably hot in the sun. You’ll know what I mean if you have ever walked across a WPC deck with no shoes in the middle of the day and nearly burned your feet off! Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. (AERT) has developed a method to overcome this surface temperature, especially in darker capstocks. 

This improved temperature stability means aesthetic capstocks can continue to coat WPCs and offer greater comfort for users. AERT developed a capstock with an infrared reflective colorant and thermally emissive filler. Infrared reflective colorants can reflect light in the 700-2,500 nm wavelength range. Thermally emissive fillers can reduce surface temperatures and heat build-up. The combination of these two factors dramatically reduces the heat build up seen in capstocks exposed to UV  radiation. They have designed this formulation to work as either a polymeric composition that can be extrudable for use in WPCs – or as a paint to be applied as needed. This will help to reduce surface temperatures by nearly 10 degrees, greatly improving the usability of WPCs – so now you can walk across your deck without burning your feet!

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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