Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 14 No 2  2002 Dec p.  34-40

Properties of medium density fibreboard from oil palm empty fruit bunch fibre

Author(s): RIDZUAN Ramli* ; SHALER, Stephen** ; MOHD ARIFF Jamaludin+

Medium density fibreboard (MDF) is increasingly popular in the world today. In Malaysia, MDF is made using rubberwood. However, with the diminishing supply of the wood, an alternative raw material is needed. Empty fruit bunches (EFB) is a readily available waste from the oil palm industry, possibly suitable for MDF. It, however, contains residual oil which had to be removed by two pre-treatments – boiling in water and 2% sodium hydroxide (NaOH). In addition, two resin contents (4% and 6%) were used in a factorial 2 x 2 experiment. Removing the oil improved the MDF properties. Although NaOH removed more oil, its fibre was coarser with a higher bulk density (57 vs. 42 kg m-3 ). The panels produced with the water pre-treated fibre therefore had better mechanical [modulus of rupture (MOR), modulus of elasticity (MOE) and internal bonding strength (IB)] and physical [water absorption (WA), thickness swelling (TS) and linear expansion (LE)] properties than the NaOH pre-treated fibre. The higher resin content (6%) also conferred better mechanical and physical properties. All the panels, except those produced with 4% resin and NaOH, easily met the minimum strength requirements by the National Particleboard Association (NPA) for MOR, MOE and IB. In contrast, all the panels were below the standards for WA and TS. The LE was also substandard with the exception of the water panels with 6% resin. Although much work remains to be done, EFB seems an eminently suitable raw material for MDF.

Keywords: , , ,

Author Information
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, P.O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

** Faculty of Wood Science, University of Maine, Orono, USA.

+ Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

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