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USPTO Awards Patent for Use of Recycled Plastics for Structural Building Forms

AXION International Holdings, Inc., a leader in recycled plastic and plastic composite technologies used to produce ECOTRAX® railties and STRUXURE® building products, today announced the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued No. 8,455,588.

The patent is issued to Rutgers University and licensed to AXION exclusively in the United States and various international territories.

Titled, "Use of Recycled Plastics for Structural Building Forms," the patent addresses bridges constructed from modular thermoplastic structural members such as I-beams and tongue & groove boards. These interlocking assemblies are made from AXION's proprietary and patented material formulations using 100% recycled materials. Advancements in the methods of interlocking composite building materials covered in this patent further improves the load bearing specifications of AXION's STRUXURE® and ECOTRAX® products.

"AXION has had the good fortune to work with excellent engineers and contractors in our bridge building efforts. As we observed installation of our STRUXURE® products, including our prefabricated assemblies, into bridges we've identified new ways in which these forms have interlocking capabilities. These capabilities allow STRUXURE® to better distribute loads and to take advantage of the unique strengths of our patented material to build bigger and better bridges," stated AXION President and CEO Steve Silverman.

STRUXURE® has been used to build bridges on U.S. public roads, railroad bridges, and tank bridges on U.S. military bases.

Continued advancements in AXION's technologies enable communities and engineers to build bridges that are both economically and environmentally advantageous. The following is an excerpt from the patent:

"There presently are over 500,000 wooden vehicular bridges in the United States assembled from chemically treated lumber. An estimated forty percent of them are in need of repair or replacement.

"There are several types of chemically treated lumber such as creosoted lumber and pressure treated lumber. These materials are relatively inexpensive to make and use, and they are just as versatile as any other form of wood. They also have enhanced resistance to microbial and fungal degradation and to water.

"However, the increasing popularity of chemically treated lumber has some negative repercussions that are just now being realized. Chemically treating lumber takes a perfectly useable, recyclable, renewable resource and renders it toxic. For example 'pressure treated' or 'CCA' lumber is treated with very poisonous chromated copper arsenic and cannot be burned. While CCA lumber can be buried, the leaching of toxic chemicals makes such disposal strategies undesirable. The disposal of creosoted lumber requires the use of special incinerators. These materials are becoming far more difficult and expensive to dispose of than to use. However, because of the long useful life of these materials, the economic and environmental impact of chemically treated lumber is just beginning to be felt."


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