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regenerative MATERIAL KIT 002

Wood composites combine the beautiful aesthetic of wood with the manufacturing efficiency of injection molding. The M4 Design Lab was so inspired by the possibilities for this material type.

WOOD COMPOSITES


MATERIAL STUDY / KIT RELEASE

WHY WOOD COMPOSITES?

Combining wood fillers with a plastic base has many material benefits, including enhanced functional properties, cost effectiveness and reduced use of petroleum plastic. 

In many cases, the composite material is stronger than wood or plastic individually, allowing the creation of a more durable product that can last longer before disposal.

Wood composites also have the potential to provide greater accessibility to wood products, as the injection molding process is much more cost effective than traditional woodworking methods.

Sourcing wood filler

It’s important to note that sourcing wood filler is not a cause of deforestation, as it is sourced from waste in wood processing industries. A few examples of waste streams that provide material for wood composites:

  • wood flour: a fine powder of finely ground wood particles, typically sourced from sawmills or woodworking operations
  • agricultural residues, or byproducts from crop harvesting/processing like rice hulls, wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse
  • recycled wood products, such as wood pallets, furniture scraps or demolition waste

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MATERIAL USE & Benefits

Wood composites offer compelling functional and mechanical benefits for product design. It’s extremely durable, impact resistant and can withstand UV and moisture exposure. It’s also very lightweight, and has a beautiful, smooth speckle texture. Based on the type of wood filler used, the tone can vary from light to dark. Based on the type of plastic base used, many different characteristics can be achieved to match a specific product criteria.

Below, we share an example of this innovative material type in real world design. We were very inspired by the Odger Chair, designed for IKEA by Swedish design studio, Form Us With Love. The chair was injection molded using 30/70 post-industrial recycled wood-plastic composite.

We believe this material type would be especially well suited for indoor and outdoor furniture, home goods and toys. If you’re interested in exploring design and/or manufacturing using wood composites, reach out to designlab@m4factory.com

Wood-polypropylene chair designed for IKEA by Swedish design studio Form Us With Love. They speak about the project: “This chair echoes a democratic and intuitive industrial design mantra, where form, function, price, quality and sustainability come together in one product.”