Transformative Technologies - Development of "Green" Wood Adhesives for Wood Composite Products
Chitosan is an amino polysaccharide obtained from the deacetylation of chitin, which is naturally occurring in the shells of a large number of marine crustaceans. Chitosan is soluble in weakly acidic aqueous solutions and possesses adhesive properties. Chitosan has received much attention for medical and industrial applications; however, only limited studies have been conducted on the application of chitosan as a wood adhesive, because its bonding properties on wood are poor. To improve the adhesive quality of chitosan resin, an innovative study on chitosan adhesives has been conducted to use selected fungal species to modify chitosan and improve its bonding properties, to synthesize non-formaldehyde resins with the fungus-modified chitosan, and to enhance urea-formaldehyde (UF) and phenol-formaldehyde (PF) resin performance with the fungus-modified chitosan.
The bonding properties of wood composites made with these chitosan-based green wood adhesives were significantly improved, in terms of lap-shear strength. Unmodified chitosan solution was not compatible with ammonium lignosulfonate, liquid PF resin, soybean resin, powder PF resin, or soybean flour, but was compatible with UF resin, polyvinyl acetate (PVA) resin, and phenol. With the addition of chitosan in UF and PVA resins, both the dry and wet shear strengths of plywood panels were improved, compared with those of panels bonded with the control UF and PVA resins, i.e. without chitosan. A number of chitosan and chitosan-reinforced UF resins were prepared as a binder for particleboard panel manufacturing. Six (6) types of particleboard panels with different levels of resin loadings and press conditions were manufactured. The resulting boards were tested to evaluate the bond quality of the chitosan and chitosan-reinforced UF resins. The test results showed that particleboard panels with good visual quality could be produced with all formulations of chitosan-UF adhesives, even with resin systems made with 1% of chitosan resin only. All chitosan resins used alone or added to UF resins yielded panels with better internal bond (IB) strength than those made with the UF control resin. The panels made with 1% chitosan resin plus 66% UF resin in a 1:1 ratio yielded panels with the highest IB strength and the best overall mechanical properties.