Low Maintainance Sheet Piling Reduces Life Cycle Costs of Retaining Walls

WPC Pile Extrusion on lab scale & extruded sheet piles

WPC Pile Extrusion on lab scale & extruded sheet piles

UMaine WPC sheet piling demonstration project

UMaine WPC sheet piling demonstration project

PROBLEM: Commonly available sheet piling used for retaining walls corrodes, increasing maintenance costs and reducing the useful life of the construction. These problems are heightened in a marine environment.

SOLUTION: Our patented wood composite sheet piling system does not corrode, which reduces overall life cycle costs.  Additionally it is chemically inert and 100% recyclable.

HOW IT WORKS:

The wood composite used is a combination of roughly 50% polypropylene, 45% wood flour, and a small percentage of color, lubricant, and polybond coupling agent.  The material is extruded into hollow Z-section piles, the novel shape of which creates a stronger piling system using less material.

Testing of sample coupons and full size wood composite pilings have successfully demonstrated performance in realistic retaining wall applications. The material does not corrode or decay in soil or marine environments, is 100 percent recyclable and environmentally inert (unlike vinyl, which is known to leach).

Overall, the composite system outperforms commonly used steel and vinyl sheet piling.  It is expected that life cycle costs  favor this new sheet piling system, particularly in marine environments for use as sea walls, shore protection walls, and other water control structures.

The Federal Highway Administration sponsored the research for this project.

TECH REF: 2004-05

PATENTS: US Patent 7,416,368

TEAM
Doug Gardner, Inventor and project leader

Kris A. Burton, Technology Commercialization

DEVELOPMENT PLAN

– This product has been successfully demonstrated in pilot installations.

-Next step, economic feasibility of opportunity to produce a stand-alone product.  We are soliciting commercial input for this assessment.

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