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A new generation of ultra-light bio-based particleboard produced with an in-line foaming step

English title A new generation of ultra-light bio-based particleboard produced with an in-line foaming step
Applicant Thoemen Heiko
Number 136678
Funding scheme NRP 66 Resource Wood
Research institution Architektur, Holz und Bau Berner Fachhochschule
Institution of higher education Berne University of Applied Sciences - BFH
Main discipline Material Sciences
Start/End 01.05.2012 - 31.12.2016
Approved amount 617'843.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Material Sciences
Chemical Engineering

Keywords (5)

Foam; Light-weight; Particleboard; Polylactic acid; Solid precursor

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Ultraleichte bio-basierte Holzwerkstoffplatte mit Schaumkern Moderne Möbelplatten sind strukturoptimierte Werkstoffe in Bezug auf ihre mechanischen Eigenschaften und auf ihr Gewicht. Ziel dieses Forschungsprojekts ist es, eine bio-basierte Sandwichplatte mit Spandecklagen und einem Schaumkern zu entwickeln. Das neuartige einstufige Verfahren erlaubt eine kostengünstigere Plattenherstellung, verglichen mit den üblichen Verfahren zur Herstellung von Sandwichplatten.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Spanbasierte Holzwerkstoffplatten weisen heute eine mittlere Dichte von bis zu 700 kg/m3 auf. Wegen der steigenden Rohstoffpreise und der wachsenden Nachfrage nach Mitnahmemöbeln versuchen die Hersteller, das Gewicht von Plattenwerkstoffen deutlich zu verringern. Im Fokus der Forschungsarbeiten steht ein neues, kostengünstiges Herstellungsverfahren von Sandwichplatten mit holzspanbasierten Decklagen und einem Schaumkern. Frühere Arbeiten haben bereits die Machbarkeit des Verfahrens und die Produktqualität der Platten gezeigt. Weiterer Forschungsbedarf besteht vor allem bei der Entwicklung eines rieselfähigen Schaum-Präkursors, d. h. eines Vorläuferstoffs zur Herstellung von Schaum, welcher kostengünstig ist und den prozesstechnischen Anforderungen entspricht.

Ziel
Mit dem Projekt verfolgen die Forschenden zwei Ziele: erstens die Entwicklung eines Schaumsystems, das den hohen ökologischen, technologischen und ökonomischen Ansprüchen genügt, und zweitens die Anpassung des Verfahrens zur Herstellung der Holzwerkstoffplatten. Der Fokus bei der Schaumentwicklung liegt dabei auf dem Einsatz von superkritischem CO2 zur Herstellung eines Schaum-Präkursors. Dieser ist ein Biokunststoff aus der Gruppe der Polylactide (Polymilchsäure, PLA). Parallel dazu untersuchen die Forschenden das Potenzial alternativer Ausgangsstoffe und Treibmittel. Gleichzeitig erweitern die Forschenden den üblicherweise sehr engen Temperaturbereich, in dem die Decklagen hergestellt werden, um so einen grösseren Spielraum bei der Auswahl des Schaumsystems zu erlangen.

Bedeutung
Leichte Plattenwerkstoffe haben ein grosses Potenzial im Möbelbereich und im Innenausbau sowie als Verpackungsmaterial. Oberhalb von 20 mm stellen Wabenplatten mittlerweile eine kostengünstige Alternative zu Spanplatten dar. Es fehlen jedoch Leichtbauwerkstoffe in den Standardstärken von Möbelplatten. In diesem Segment könnten bio-basierte Leichtbauplatten die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit von Holz und Holzprodukten langfristig sichern.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.01.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Panneau en bois ultraléger à base bio et au cœur de mousse Les panneaux modernes pour meubles sont des matériaux à la structure optimisée au regard de leurs propriétés mécaniques et de leur poids. Ce projet de recherche vise à développer un panneau sandwich, à base bio, doté d’un parement en particules de bois avec un cœur en mousse. Le nouveau procédé à phase unique permet une fabrication moins coûteuse des panneaux par rapport aux méthodes traditionnelles.
Lay summary

Contexte
Les panneaux à base de particules de bois présentent aujourd’hui une densité moyenne allant jusqu’à 700 kg/m3. Face à la hausse des prix des matières premières et de la demande en meubles prêts à emporter, les fabricants cherchent à réduire drastiquement le poids des matériaux constituants des panneaux. Les travaux de recherche sont axés sur un nouveau procédé peu onéreux de fabrication de panneaux sandwich dotés d’un parement en particules de bois et d’un cœur en mousse. Des travaux antérieurs avaient déjà montré la faisabilité du procédé et la qualité du résultat. Des recherches plus poussées étaient principalement requises pour développer un précurseur de mousse capable de s'écouler.

But
L’objectif poursuivi par les chercheurs de ce projet comporte deux volets: le développement d’un système de mousse satisfaisant aux hautes exigences écologiques, technologiques et économiques et l’adaptation du procédé à la fabrication de panneaux en matériaux à base de bois. Le développement de la mousse est centré sur l’utilisation de CO2 supercritique pour fabriquer un précurseur de la mousse. Il s’agit d’une matière plastique biologique issue du groupe des polylactides. Parallèlement, les chercheurs étudient le potentiel de produits alternatifs comme matière de départ et agent moussant. Dans le même temps, les chercheurs élargissent la zone de température pour la compression des couches extérieures pour diversifier l’éventail de choix du système de mousse.

Portée
Les matériaux légers pour panneaux ont un immense potentiel dans les domaines du mobilier et de l’aménagement intérieur et comme matériau d’emballage. Les panneaux en nid d’abeille de plus de 20 mm sont une alternative économique aux panneaux de particules. On manque toutefois encore de matériaux de construction légers de l’épaisseur standard des panneaux pour meubles. Dans ce segment, des panneaux à base bio de faible poids pourraient assurer la compétitivité à long terme du bois et des produits à base de bois.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.01.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Ultra-light bio-based particleboard with a foam core Modern furniture boards are structurally optimised materials in terms of their mechanical properties and weight. The aim of this research project is to produce a bio-based sandwich panel covered with layers of wood chips and containing a core of foam. The new one-stage process lowers the production costs of panels compared to the usual procedures for the production of sandwich panels.
Lay summary

Background
Chip-based particleboards today have an average density of up to 700 kg/m3. Due to the rising price of raw materials and the growing demand for flat-pack furniture, manufacturers are trying to make panel materials significantly lighter in weight. Research work is focusing on new, cost-efficient production processes for sandwich panels with wood chip based top layers. Previous research has already shown that the procedure is feasible and the product quality is good. Further research is needed particularly in the development of a free-flowing foam precursor, i.e. a forerunner material for the production of foam that is cheap and meets the technical requirements for the process.

Aim
The researchers aim to achieve two goals in this project: firstly, to develop a foam system that satisfies the high ecological, technological and economic requirements; secondly, to adapt the procedure for the production of particleboards. For foam development, the focus is on the use of super-critical CO2 (carbon dioxide at the liquid-gas phase boundary) for making a foam precursor, which is a bioplastic from the group of polylactides (PLAs). In parallel, the researchers are also studying the potential of alternative basic materials and propellants. They are also expanding the (normally very narrow) temperature range for the compression of the top layers in order to have more leeway when choosing the foam system.

Significance
Light panel materials have great potential in the furniture sector, in interior design and as packaging material. Above 20 mm, honeycomb panels now offer a cheap alternative to chipboard. However, there is still a lack of light materials of standard strength for furniture panels. Bio-based lightweight boards could secure the long-term competitiveness of wood and wood products.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.01.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Ultra-light particleboard: characterization of foam core layer by digital image correlation
Shalbafan Ali Rhême Martin Thoemen Heiko (2017), Ultra-light particleboard: characterization of foam core layer by digital image correlation, in European Journal of Wood and Wood Products, 75(1), 43-53.
Crystallization of polylactide during impregnation with liquid CO2
Plummer Christohper John George Yonghoon Yoon Garin Léo E.Manson Jan-Anders (2015), Crystallization of polylactide during impregnation with liquid CO2, in Polymer Bulletin, 72(1), 103-116.
Potential environmental benefits of ultralight particleboards with bio-based foam cores
C. Ganne-Chédeville S. Dietrichs (2015), Potential environmental benefits of ultralight particleboards with bio-based foam cores, in International Journal of Polymer Science, 2015, 1-14.
Solid heat-expandable polylactide-poly(methyl methacrylate) foam precursors prepared by immersion in liquide carbon dioxide
Y. Yoon C. J. G. Plummer J.-A. Manson (2015), Solid heat-expandable polylactide-poly(methyl methacrylate) foam precursors prepared by immersion in liquide carbon dioxide, in Journal of Material Science, 50, 7208-7217.
Solid state polylactid-poly(methyl methacrylate) precurors for the in-line production of foam core sandwich structures
Yonghoon Yoon Smole Joze Rheme Martin Thoemen heiko Plummer Christopher J.G. Manson Jan-Anders (2015), Solid state polylactid-poly(methyl methacrylate) precurors for the in-line production of foam core sandwich structures, in 20th International Conference on Composite Materials, CompenhagICCM, Copenhagen.
Liquid CO2 processing of solid polylactide foam precursors
Yonghoon Yoon Christopher JG Plummer Heiko Thoemen and Jan-Anders E Månson, Liquid CO2 processing of solid polylactide foam precursors, in Journal of Cellular Plastics, Online.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
ETH Zürich, Institute of Environmental Engineering (Project Hellweg) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
EMPA, Applied Wood Materials Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
EPFL, Laboratoire de Technologie des Composites et Polymères (LTC) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
University of Hamburg, Department of Wood Science (UHH-WS) Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
COST Action FP1303 Joint Technical Workshop "Designing with bio-based building materials - Challenges and opportunities" Talk given at a conference Mechanical properties of bio-based foam in ultralight particleboards 24.02.2016 Madrid, Spain Thoemen Heiko; Rhême Martin; Ganne-Chédeville Christelle;
LCA Forum DF 60 — Environmental Use of Wood Resources Talk given at a conference LCA of ultra-light particle boards 04.12.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Ganne-Chédeville Christelle;
20th International Conference on Composite Materials Talk given at a conference Solid State Polylactide-Poly( Methyl Methacrylate) Precursors for the in-Line Production of Foam Core Sandwich Structures 19.07.2015 Copenhagen, Denmark Rhême Martin; Smole Jože; Yoon Yanghoon; Thoemen Heiko; Plummer Christopher; Månson Jan-Anders;
Biocomposites In Construction Conference 2015 Talk given at a conference The development of a bio-based ultra-light particleboard 21.05.2015 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Plummer Christopher; Rhême Martin; Ganne-Chédeville Christelle; Yoon Yanghoon; Thoemen Heiko; Smole Jože;
COST Action FP1303 Performance of Bio-based building materials First conference Talk given at a conference LCA of an in-development ultralight particleboard 23.10.2014 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Ganne-Chédeville Christelle;
International Student conference "Sprungbrett" Talk given at a conference Low Temperature Curing Adhesives for the Manufacturing of Wood- Based Composites 05.06.2014 Ohrid, Macedonia Thoemen Heiko; Smole Jože;
Society for the advancement of material and process engineering (SAMPE) Europe student conference 2014 Talk given at a conference Solid biobased precursors for one-step processing of foam sandwich composites 01.02.2014 Paris, France Thoemen Heiko; Månson Jan-Anders; Yoon Yanghoon; Plummer Christopher;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
COST Action FP1407: Training School on Life Cycle Assessment Talk 26.04.2016 Vantaa, Finland Ganne-Chédeville Christelle;
Advisory Board Meeting of NRP66 project Ultra-light Particleboard Workshop 29.11.2012 Biel, Switzerland Rhême Martin; Plummer Christopher; De Giorgi Yannick; Thoemen Heiko; Smole Jože;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Final Workshop of the NFP66 Project ultralight particleboard with the advisory board 11.08.2016 Biel, Switzerland
Workshop im Rahmen der Dialogplattform "Innovative holzbasierte Materialien für neue Anwendungen" 25.09.2015 Bern university of applied sciences, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Leichtigkeit im Möbelbau Spirit biel/bienne - Das Magazin der technischen Disziplinen der Berner Fachhochschule Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Factsheet Ultraleichte bio-basierte Holzwerkstoffplatte mit Schaumkern BFH German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Video/Film Ultra light particleboard German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Awards

Title Year
Nomination for the "11. Burgdorfer Innopreis". 5 out of 20 young researchers were selected to participate in the final competition, one of which was Joze Smole. Title of proposal: "Eine neue Generation bio-basierter ultra-leichter Spanplatten mit Schaumkern". The winner will be announced on 6 March 2014. 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
162531 Analysis of the core layer characteristics of foam core panels using 2D digital image correlation 01.07.2015 International short research visits

Abstract

The aim of this project is to develop a new generation of ultra-light particleboard with potential applications in furniture, interior paneling, transport and packaging with the following characteristics:1. Average density below 350 kg/m32. Economically competitive with conventional wood-based panel products3. Bio-based and biodegradableThe technology for the ultra-light particleboard is based on a novel particleboard process with an in-line foaming step, developed at the University of Hamburg and Bern University of Applied Sciences. This new process has been shown to be technologically feasible, and has gained considerable interest in the wood-based panel and furniture industries. However, main barriers to industrial application are that liquid foam precursors cannot be used and that solid precursors currently available on the market are incapable of fulfilling the process and product requirements. The objectives of this project are therefore (i) implementation of a new ecologically friendly foaming system for economically viable ultra-light particleboard production and (ii) to adapt the board manufacturing technology accordingly. This work will require a significant fundamental research effort.The research necessary for the development of ultra-light particleboard will be in two main parts: the development of a foaming system with a precursor applicable as powder or granulate (Tasks 1-4), and the adaptation of the panel production process to suit the foaming process (Tasks 5-7). The following tasks will be addressed:Task 1. Materials selection and formulation: Development of a suitable process for producing expandable PLA in house, optimization of formulations for the particleboard process, investigation of the use of supercritical CO2 to produce precursors. The supercritical route is potentially far more efficient than established procedures, permitting rapid dissolution of CO2 in PLA under precisely controlled conditions.Task 2. Alternative systems: A continued effort will be made throughout the project to identify other foam precursor systems, and integrate these into the project as appropriate. These will include starch-based water expandable precursors and their derivatives and possibly water/CO2 expandable PS, depending on its availability.Task 3 Determination of processing windows for core layer: Establishment of time-temperature-pressure windows and their optimization with respect to the particleboard process through appropriate formulation. Task 4. Analysis of structure-property correlations (core layer only): Establishment of links between the obtainable foam structures and physical and mechanical properties.Task 5. Determination of processing window for surface layers: Development of strategies to extend the processing window towards lower and higher temperatures. Particularly for low temperature curing various adhesive-hardener or catalyst systems will be evaluated, and process parameters will be adjusted appropriately.Task 6. Synchronization of surface layer consolidation and foaming process: Adaptation of the manufacturing process and characterization of three-layer sandwich panels on the macroscopic and microscopic level.Task 7. Numerical modeling of manufacturing process: A numerical model used to simulate the hot pressing process of particleboard and fiberboard will be supplemented by a module describing the thermodynamic processes inside a cooling press and under ambient conditions after the panel has left the press.The development of a new generation of bio-based ultra-light particleboard will secure the resource-efficient use of wood, and the competitiveness of wood-based panels with respect to alternative fossil-based light-weight materials.
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