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Extruded Thermoplastic and Cellulose Materials Acceptable to Termites as Monitors or Baits

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000124670D
Publication Date: 2005-May-03
Document File: 4 page(s) / 79K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Acceptance and palatability leading to the detection or elimination of termites is the goal of synthetic termite monitors or baits. Over the years since the first introduction of termite baiting, some improvements that could be made to these monitoring and baiting systems have been identified. These systems were optimized through use of a particular type of wood species that was very palatable to most termite species versus the standard Southern yellow pine. In optimizing palatability of these monitors using natural wood, some other characteristics are sacrificed, most notably, longevity in the ground. This research reported below was intended to improve upon longevity of natural wooden monitors while maintaining or increasing the palatability of the monitors to termites through pursuit of thermoplastic cellulose based extruded materials. The termite has been the final arbiter of acceptability of materials produced in these experiments and testing was conducted using Eastern Subterranean Termites (EST), Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) in laboratory and field bioassays.

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Extruded Thermoplastic and Cellulose Materials Acceptable

 to Termites as Monitors or Baits

Introduction

Acceptance and palatability leading to the detection or elimination of termites is the goal of synthetic termite monitors or baits. Over the years since the first introduction of termite baiting, some improvements that could be made to these monitoring and baiting systems have been identified. These systems were optimized through use of  a particular type of wood species that was very palatable to most termite species versus the standard Southern yellow pine. In optimizing palatability of these monitors using natural wood, some other characteristics are sacrificed, most notably, longevity in the ground. This research reported below was intended to improve upon longevity of natural wooden monitors while maintaining or increasing the palatability of the monitors to termites through pursuit of thermoplastic cellulose based extruded materials. The termite has been the final arbiter of acceptability of materials produced in these experiments and testing was conducted using Eastern Subterranean Termites (EST), Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) in laboratory and field bioassays.

Materials and Methods

The goal of this research was production of a synthetic material equal to or more palatable than wood.  Investigations into the development of an extruded or injection molded part using alpha cellulose with a binder was initiated in an attempt to meet this goal. An initial trial involved attempting to produce alpha cellulose in a “chip board” type matrix using isocyanate adhesives to bind large chunks of alpha cellulose together. While termites were attracted to the matrix, these “chip boards” proved unstable and simply fell apart when exposed to the high moisture environments in termite monitoring stations.

To overcome these initial failures, other methods of producing alpha cellulose in a stable structure were investigated. Binding alpha cellulose with a thermoplastic binder was investigated and found to offer significant promise. The process utilizes an extruder operated at high temperature (180ºC ) to melt the thermoplastic and mix the melted plastic with cellulose to form a matrix that is then extruded at high temperature (minimum of 170ºC to about 210ºC) and cooled to form a rigid part. The extrusion can be forced through a profile die to produce a final shape. Another alternative is to take extruded, compounded matrix, form pellets as it comes out the extruder or mill the matrix into feed stock for injection molding. The feed stock is then fed into an injection molding machine at high temperature containing a die to form a finished part. Both processes were attempted with varying levels of success. After evaluating costs, production rates and technical production issues, the extrusion through a profile die made the most sense for the matrices investigated.

Extrusions were performed on various types of extrusion equipment for both...