Sören Bernhard Halvarsson, Håkan Edlund, Magnus Norgren


Wheat straw was used to produce medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The chemical and physical characteristics of fractionated size-reduced wheat straw were investigated. The pH, pH-buffering capacity, ash, and silicon content increased as wheat straw particle size decreased. Ash of the finest straw, <0.2 mm, had high ash (15%) and silicon (18%) contents. The outer and inner parts of size-reduced straw were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The SEM micrographs revealed a complex ultrastructure containing a notable portion of thin-walled cells approximately 1 µm thick. Pressurized defibration of size-reduced wheat straw produced lignocellulosic fibers nearly 1.0 mm long combined with approximately 24% of small particles and dust. The high water uptake of straw-based MDF was significantly reduced using melamine-modified urea-formaldehyde (UF) resin and removing wheat straw particles and dust by screening. UF resin was added at levels of 12.5%, 13.1%, and 14%. In terms of water resistance, 12-mm-thick straw MDF displayed thickness swelling below 10%, acceptable according to the EN 622-5 MDF standards. It was concluded that manufacturing wheat straw MDF entails straw size reduction (hammer-milling), removing small particles and dust, and adding melamine-modified UF resin to attain necessary MDF quality standards.


Wheat straw; Medium-density fiberboard; Hammer-milling; Fiber length; Melamine urea-formaldehyde resin; MUF; Thickness swelling; Ash content; Silicon content; pH; pH buffering; EDX; SEM

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