Assessing the Viability of Using Spathodea campanulata Wood with Recycled Polymers and the Enhancement of its Properties
Forests in Puerto Rico have been dominated by invasive species such as the Spathodea campanulata, also known as African tulip. The high growth rate of this foreign species causes the formation of monodominant forests found on places such as abandoned agricultural land. These forests support the island ecosystem and represents a vast renewable natural resource. In particular, the African tulip wood could have a high impact value because of its low cost and high growth rate. This economic factor has raised a broad interest from the industry, the academia, and investors. Thus, to exploit possible uses of the S. campanulata tree, several alternatives are being explored. One of them involves the preparation of reliable products based on wood-densification, which requires pressing of the wood to enhance its mechanical properties. Another more complex process is the incorporation of polymers as additives to form composite materials. This presentation centers on the study of useful products combining recycled materials based on S. campanulata as a renewable source.