Manufacture of straw MDF and fibreboards
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis was to develop an economical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly straw Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) process, capable of full-scale manufacturing and to produce MDF of requested quality. The investigated straw was based on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and rice (Oryzae sativa L.). In this thesis three different methods were taken for manufacture of straw MDF; (A) wheat-straw fibre was blowline blended with melamine-modified urea-formaldehyde (MUF), (B) rice-straw fibre was mixed with methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) in a resin drum-blender, and (C) wheat-straw fibre was activated in the blowline by the addition of Fenton’s reagent (H2O2/Fe2+) for production of non-resin MDF panels. The MUF/wheat straw MDF panels were approved according to the requirements of the EN standard for MDF (EN 622-5, 2006). The MDI/rice-straw MDF panels were approved according to requirements of the standard for MDF of the American National Standard Institute (ANSI A208.2-2002). The non-resin wheat-straw panels showed mediocre MDF panel properties and were not approved according to the requirements in the MDF standard. The dry process for wood-based MDF was modified for production of straw MDF. The straw MDF process was divided into seven main process steps.1. Size-reduction (hammer-milling) and screening of straw2. Wetting and heating of straw3. Defibration4. Resination of straw fibre5. Mat forming6. Pre-pressing7. Hot-pressing The primary results were that the straw MDF process was capable of providing satisfactory straw MDF panels based on different types of straw species and adhesives. Moreover, the straw MDF process was performed in pilot-plant scale and demonstrated as a suitable method for producing straw MDF from straw bales to finished straw MDF panels. In the environmental perspective the agricultural straw-waste is a suitable source for producing MDF to avoid open field burning and to capture carbon dioxide (CO2), the biological sink for extended time into MDF panels, instead of converting straw directly into bio energy or applying straw fibre a few times as recycled paper. Additionally, the straw MDF panels can be recycled or converted to energy after utilization.A relationship between water retention value (WRV) of resinated straw fibres, the thickness swelling of corresponding straw MDF panels, and the amount of applied adhesive was determined. WRV of the straw fibre increased and the TS of straw MDF declined as a function of the resin content. The empirical models developed were of acceptable significance and the R2 values were 0.69 (WRV) and 0.75 (TS), respectively. Reduced thickness swelling of MDF as the resin content is increased is well-known. The increase of WRV as a function of added polymers is not completely established within the science of fibre swelling. Fortunately, more fundamental research can be initiated and likely a simple method for prediction of thickness swelling of MDF by analysis of the dried and resinated MDF fibres is possible.
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