UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The use of flax and hemp resource for particleboard Sam-Brew, Solace Araba


The focus of this study was to investigate flax shive and hemp hurd as alternate residue for particleboard production, investigate the lowest percentage of the pricier polymeric diphenyl methane diisocyanate (pMDI) resin that can be used to effectively bond the residues and evaluate an acrylic-based resin for particleboard manufacture. The flax shive and hemp hurd had lower bulk densities and higher aspect ratios compared with wood. Their higher aspect ratios offered greater overlap in bonding leading to consistently higher bending properties that exceeded American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requirements for low density (LD2) particleboard and in some cases, medium density (M2) particleboard. Because of their particle geometry, the flax shive and hemp hurd particleboards also showed minimal linear expansion with changes in moisture content between 50% and 90% relative humidity (at 20 ± 3°C) and were within ANSI requirements. The high absorption capacity of the residues resulted in higher thickness swell and water absorption properties in contrast to wood. Improvements in bending strength above 40% and stiffness properties above 25% was achieved for wood, hemp hurd and flax shive particleboards by incorporating 15 weight % flax and hemp fiber in continuous mat form at the points of maximum tensile and compressive stresses in particleboard. Test results confirmed the possibility of using 2.5% pMDI resin load, a percentage lower than the commercially viable 3%–6% addition levels that are commonly used with wood residues. The results further demonstrated that based on 2.5% pMDI resin load and as much as 20% mass lignin substitution boards with satisfactory mechanical properties that exceed LD2 grade requirements could be manufactured from hemp hurd and flax shive. Dynamic scanning calorimetry results and the current cost of the acrylic-based resin suggests that it is not suited for particleboard manufacture from flax shive and hemp hurd. Overall, based on mechanical performance flax shive and hemp hurd residues can be considered as alternate biomass for particleboards of greater performance to wood for use in shelving and furniture applications. But the high cost of the residues compared to wood does not currently make it economical for particleboard manufacture.

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