Wood and other natural fibers have been used in composites for many years. However, interest in their use as fillers and reinforcements in plastics waned with the development of synthetic fibers such as glass and carbon fibers. Recently there has been a resurgence of interest with one of the largest recent examples being the birth of the wood-plastic composites industry. This involved the interfacing of industries that have historically known little about each other and had very different knowledge, expertise, and perspectives.
Today, this interaction continues and these composites continue to evolve. A new generation of composites is emerging as material behavior is better understood, processes and performance are improved, and new opportunities are identified. Recent trends such as the desire to increase biocontent, growing production in different parts of the world, and, of course, the economy will play a major role in the future of these composites. Additionally, the advent of emerging technologies related to biopolymers, biorefineries, and nanotechnology are generating interest in new combinations of polymers and materials derived from wood or other natural fibers, some of which may be very different from those currently produced.
We are inviting formal or poster presentations on the following topics: - Additives and formulating - Future applications - Advanced reinforcements - Nanotechnology in wood composites - Biopolymer matrices - New processing/recycling - Enhanced performance.