European Journal of Wood and Wood Products

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 157–169 | Cite as

Termite and decay resistance of bioplast-spruce green wood-plastic composites

  • Kévin Candelier
  • Atilla Atli
  • Jérôme Alteyrac


Wood-plastic composites (WPCs) are very promising and sustainable green materials to achieve durability without using toxic chemicals. These materials, produced by blending biopolymers and natural fillers, permit us not only to tailor the desired properties of materials according to the characteristics and ratios of wood and polymers but are also the solution to meet environmental and sustainability requirements. This study focuses on the durability evaluation of green WPCs made from a blend of an entirely biodegradable biopolymer (BIOPLAST GS2189 supplied by Biotec-Germany) and spruce wood sawdust. The spruce sawdust with different amounts (from 0 to 30% weight) was introduced into Bioplast and the obtained blends were injected into injection molds in order to manufacture the samples, which are eco-friendly materials and biodegradable in specific conditions. To determine the biological resistance of the produced WPCs, the decay and termite resistance tests, conducted according to screening tests adapted from European Standards, were carried out in relation to the wood content. The results showed an increase in fungal and termite degradation levels with increasing amounts of wood in Bioplast. It also showed a relationship between the water uptake due to fungi growth and a decrease in the resistance against fungal and termites. The optical microscopy observations performed on WPC specimen surfaces highlighted the presence of microcracks on the surface of WPCs after their decay exposure, resulting in an embrittlement of the composite containing high wood content. These observations were discussed in order to understand the pathways of degradation mechanisms in these WPCs. Although Bioplast partial substitution by wood decreased the resistance of WPCs to fungal and termite attacks, the elaborated WPCs in this study were still in the class of strongly durable material.



We gratefully thank our colleagues Drs. S. Simon, P. Lourdin and C. Rigollet from ECAM Lyon (France) for helpful discussion and our students M. Blanchard and T. Tetaz for their contribution to this work. We express our gratitude to C. Black for her help with the revision of the manuscript English level.


  1. ASTM D6866 (2016) Standard Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis. ASTM InternationalGoogle Scholar
  2. Atli A, Candelier K, Alteyrac J (2018) Mechanical, thermal and biodegradable properties of bioplast-spruce green wood polymer composites. In: Proceeding of International conference on polymer and composites-ICPC 2018 ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Azwa ZN, Yousif BF, Manalo AC, Karunasena W (2013) A review on the degradability of polymeric composites based on natural fibres. Mater Des 47:424–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Badji C, Soccalingame L, Garay H, Bergeret A, Bénézet JC (2017) Influence of weathering on visual and surface aspect of wood plastic composites: Correlation approach with mechanical properties and microstructure. Polym Degrad Stab 137:162–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balatinecz JJ, Park BD (1997) The effects of temperature and moisture on the properties of wood-fiber thermoplastic composites. J Thermoplast Compos Mater 10:476–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bari E, Sistani A, Taghiyari HR, Morrell JJ, Cappellazzi J (2017) Influence of test method on biodegradation of bamboo-plastic composites by fungi. Maderas Ciencia y tecnología 19(4):455–462Google Scholar
  7. Butylina S, Martikka O, Kärki T (2010) Comparison of water absorption and mechanical properties of wood–plastic composites made from polypropylene and polylactic acid. Wood Mater Sci Eng 5(3–4):220–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carus M, Müssig J, Gahle C (2008) Naturfaserverstärkte Kunststoffe, Pflanzen, Rohstoffe, Produkte. (Natural fibre-reinforced plastics, plants, raw materials, products). (In German). Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V.—FNR, Gülzow, Germany, 40 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen Y, Stark NM, Tshabalala MA, Gao J, Yongming F (2014) Properties of wood-plastic composites (WPCs) reinforced with extracted and delignified wood flour. Holzforschung 68(8):933–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clemons C, Ibach RE (2004) Effects of processing method and moisture history on laboratory fungal resistance of wood-HDPE composites. Forest Prod J 54(4):50–57Google Scholar
  11. Danjaji ID, Nawang R, Ishiaku US, Ismail H, Mohd Ishak ZA (2002) Degradation studies and moisture uptake of sago-starch filled linear low-density polyethylene composites. Polym Testing 21:75–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elsawy MA, Kim KH, Park JW, Deep A (2017) Hydrolytic degradation of polylactic acid (PLA) and its composites. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 79:1346–1352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. EN 13432 (2000) Packaging. Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging. International Organization for StandardizationGoogle Scholar
  14. EN117 (2013) Wood preservatives—determination of toxic values against Reticulitermes species (European termites) (Laboratory method). International Organization for StandardizationGoogle Scholar
  15. Fabiyi JS, McDonald AG, Morrell JJ, Freitag C (2011) Effects of wood species on durability and chemical changes of fungal decayed wood plastic composites. Compos Part A Appl Sci Manuf 42(5):501–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gnatowski M (2009) Water absorption and durability of wood plastic composites. In: Stark N (ed) 10th International conference on wood and biofiber plastic composites, May 11–13, 2009, Madison, Wisconsin; Forest Products Society, Madison, Wisconsin. pp. 90–109Google Scholar
  17. Highley TL (1977) Requirements for cellulose degradation by a brown-rot fungus. Mater Org 12:25–36Google Scholar
  18. Ibach RE, Clemons CM, Stark NM (2005) Combined ultraviolet and water exposure as a preconditioning method in laboratory fungal durability testing. In Proceedings seventh international conference on woodfiber plastic composites. Forest Products Society, Madison, WI, pp 61–67Google Scholar
  19. Ibach RE, Gnatowski M, Sun G (2013) Field and laboratory decay evaluations of wood-plastic composites. For Prod J 63(3/4):76–87Google Scholar
  20. Ibach RE, Chen Y, Stark NM, Tshabalala MA, Fan Y, Gao J (2014) Decay resistance of wood-plastic composites reinforced with extracted or delignified wood flour. Document No. IRG/WP 14-40655. In: The International research group on wood preservation, St George, Utah, USAGoogle Scholar
  21. Ibach R, Gnatowski M, Sun G, Glaeser J, Leung M, Haigh J (2018) Laboratory and environmental decay of wood–plastic composite boards: flexural properties. Wood Mat Sci Eng 13(2):81–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kale G, Auras R, Singh SP (2007) Comparison of the degradability of poly(lactide) packages in composting and ambient exposure conditions. Pack Technol Sci 20:49–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Karimi AN, Tajvidi M, Pourabbasi S (2007) Effect of compatibilizer on the natural durability of wood flour/high density polyethylene composites against rainbow fungus (Coriolus versicolor). Polym Compos 28(3):273–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kartal SN, Aysal S, Terzi E, Yılgör N, Yoshimura T, Tsunoda K (2013) Wood and bamboo-PP composites: fungal and termite resistance, water absorption, and FT-IR analyses. BioResources 8(1):1222–1244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Klyosov AA (2007) Wood-plastic composites. Wiley, New JerseyCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li S, Juliane H, Martin KP (2009) Product overview and market projection of emerging biobased products. PRo-BIP 1:1–245Google Scholar
  27. Lligadas G, Ronda JC, Galia M, Cadiz V (2013) Renewable polymeric materials from vegetable oils: a perspective. Mater Today 16(9):337–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mankowski M, Morrell JJ (2000) Patterns of fungal attack in wood-plastic composites following exposure in a soil block test. Wood Fiber Sci 32:340–345Google Scholar
  29. Manning M (2003) Borates as biocidal additives for WPC. In: The global outlook for natural fiber and wood composites. New Orleans, LA; December 3–5, 2003Google Scholar
  30. Mosiewicki MA, Aranguren MI (2013) A short review on novel biocomposites based on plant oil precursors. Eur Polym J 49:1243–1256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Müller C, Schwarz U, Thole V (2012) On the utilization of agricultural residues in the wood-based panel industry. Eur J Wood Prod 70:588–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Noël M, Mougel E, Fredon E, Masson D, Masson E (2009) Lactic acid/wood-based composite material. Part 2: Physical and mechanical performance. Biores Technol 100(20):4717–4722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pendleton DE, Hoffard TA, Adcock T, Woodward B, Wolcott MP (2002) Durability of an extruded HDPE/Wood composite. For Prod J 52(6):21–27Google Scholar
  34. Ramesh RS, Kanakuppi S, Sharanaprabhu LS (2015) Study of hardness and impact behaviour of phenol formaldehyde based wood plastic composite. In: International journal of engineering research and technology (IJERT) NCERAME-conference proceedings, p 167Google Scholar
  35. Schirp A, Wolcott PW (2005) Influence of fungal decay and moisture absorption on mechanical properties of extruded wood–plastic composites. Wood Fiber Sci 37(4):643–652Google Scholar
  36. Segerholm BK, Ibach RW, Walinder MEP (2012) Moisture sorption in artificially aged wood–plastic composites. Bioresources 7:1283–1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Silva A, Freitag C, Morrell JJ, Gartner BL (2001) Effect of fungal attack on creep behavior and strength of wood plastic composite. In Proceedings, sixth international conference on woodfiber composites, forest products society, Madison, WI, pp 73–77Google Scholar
  38. Stark NM (2001) Influence of moisture absorption on mechanical properties of woodflour-polypropylene composites. J Thermoplast Compos 14(5):421–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stark NM, Matuana LM (2006) Influence of photostabilizers on wood flour-HDPE composites exposed to xenon-arc radiation with and without water spray. Polym Degrad Stab 91:3048–3056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sun G, Ibach RE, Faillace M, Gnatowski M, Glaeser JA, Haight J (2016) Laboratory and exterior decay of wood–plastic composite boards: voids analysis and computed tomography. Wood Mat Sci Eng 12(5):263–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Taib RM, Ishak ZAM, Rozman HD, Glasser WG (2006) Effect of moisture absorption on the tensile properties of steam-exploded Acacia mangium fiber-polypropylene composites. J Thermoplast Compos Mater 19:475–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Taib RM, Zauzi NSA, Ishak ZAM, Rozman HD (2010) Effects of Photo-Stabilizers on the Properties of Recycled High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)/Wood Flour (WF) Composites Exposed to Natural Weathering. Malaysian Polym J 5(2):193–203Google Scholar
  43. Tazi M, Erchiqui F, Kaddami H (2016) Influence of SOFTWOOD-fillers content on the biodegradability and morphological properties of WOOD–polyethylene composites. Polym Compos 39(1):29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tianyi K, Xiuzhi S (2000) Physical properties of Poly(Lactic Acid) and starch composites with various blending ratios. Cereal Chem 77(6):761–768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tokiwa Y, Calabia BP, Ugwu CU, Aiba S (2009) Biodegradability of Plastics. Int J Mol Sci 10(9):3722–3742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Verhey SA, Laks PE (2002) Wood particle size affects the decay resistance of woodfiber/thermoplastic composites. Forest Prod J 52:78–81Google Scholar
  47. Verhey S, Laks P, Richter D (2001) Laboratory decay resistance of wood fiber/thermoplastic composites. Forest Prod J 51:44–49Google Scholar
  48. Wang W, Morrell JJ (2004) Water sorption characteristics of two wood–plastic composites. Forest Prod J 54:209–212Google Scholar
  49. Wool RP, Raghavan D, Wagner GC, Billieux S (2000) Biodegradation dynamics of polymer-starch composites. J Appl Polym Sci 77:1643–1657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. XP CEN/TS 15083-1 (2006) Durability of wood and wood-based products—Determination of the natural durability of solid wood against wood-destroying fungi - Test methods—Part 1: Basidiomycetes. European Committee for StandardizationGoogle Scholar
  51. Yang HS, Kim HJ, Park HJ, Lee BJ, Hwang TS (2006) Water absorption behavior and mechanical properties of lignocellulosic filler-polyolefin bio-composites. Compos Struct 72(4):429–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kévin Candelier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Atilla Atli
    • 3
  • Jérôme Alteyrac
    • 3
  1. 1.CIRAD, UPR BioWooEBMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.BioWooEB, Univ. Montpellier, CIRADMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.ECAM Lyon, LabECAMUniversité de LyonLyonFrance

Personalised recommendations