Cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum
L.) stalks were investigated as a potential wood-replacement in particleboards (PBs). Two types of PBs were produced—(1) single-layer and (2) three-layer boards. In the three-layer cup-plant PB, the core layer was made from cup-plant, while the surface layer consisted of spruce particles. The cup-plant as well as spruce control panels were produced with polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (pMDI) as the adhesive, with the physical and mechanical properties measured to meet class P1 of the European EN 312 standard. For the intrinsic morphology of the particleboards, scanning electron microscopy was applied. Wood-based and cup-plant-based particleboards indicated significant differences in morphology that affect the resulting properties of particleboards. Furthermore, an innovative approach was used in the determination of the pMDI bondline morphology. With a compact Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass analyser, integrated in a multifunctional focused-ion beam scanning-electron-microscope, it was possible to show that the Ga+
ion source could be detect and visualize in 3D ion molecular clusters specific to pMDI adhesive and wood. Mechanical performance data showed that cup-plant particleboards performed well, even though their properties were below the spruce-made controls. Especially the modulus of rupture (MOR) of the cup-plant PB was lowered by 40%, as compared to the spruce-made control board. Likewise, thickness swelling of cup-plant made boards was higher than the control. Results were linked to the specific porous structure of the cup-plant material. In contrast, it was shown that three-layer cup-plant PB had a higher MOR and also a higher modulus of elasticity, along with lower thickness swelling, compared to its single-layer cup-plant counterpart. The industry relevant finding was that the three-layer PB made from cup-plant stalks fulfilled the EN 312 standard, class P1 (usage in dry conditions). It was shown that raw material mixtures could be useful to improve the mechanical panel performance, also with an altered vertical density profile.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited