Understanding Adhesives in Wood Products

Wood is a durable, strong and renewable resource that is widely used in construction, especially for furniture, but year-after-year prices are growing, making it increasingly more expensive.

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Fabricated wood products, including medium-density fibreboard (MDF) or particle board, are cost-effective, popular solutions found in many homes across the world. However, there are particular risks involved during manufacturing that must be monitored.

MDF and particle board are produced through a compression process involving mixing wood chips or fibers with a resin, typically a urea-formaldehyde mix, and molding it into boards. Formaldehyde is absolutely necessary for this process, but it is a known carcinogen.

Due care and attention must be paid to ensure the amount of formaldehyde stays at the minimum required for a successful product to mitigate its ability to cause harm to both manufacturers and consumers.

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To properly check formaldehyde and urea when fabricating MDF or particle board, elemental determination can be used, which specifically detects carbon and nitrogen.

Understanding Adhesives in Wood Products

Image Credit: LECO Corporation

By keeping a close eye on the ratios of carbon and nitrogen in urea-formaldehyde resins, manufacturers are able to monitor production in real-time, making sure that the blends are suitable. A conventional urea-formaldehyde resin has between 5-30% carbon and 15-30% nitrogen.

Macro carbon/nitrogen determinators, such as LECO’s CN928, can help establish these values in cycle times in as little as 6 minutes, offering a consistent stream of data for monitoring and quality assurance purposes.

Fred Schultz, LECO applications chemist, delves deep into the world of elemental determination in adhesives in an on-demand webinar.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by LECO Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit LECO Corporation.

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