Medium-Density Fiberboard Produced Using Pulp and Paper Sludge from Different Pulping Processes


  • Sébastien Migneault
  • Ahmed Koubaa
  • Hamid Nadji
  • Bernard Riedl
  • S. Y. (Tony) Zhang
  • James Deng


Paper mill sludge, recycling, composite panels, wood fibers, paper birch wood


Pulp and paper sludge can be recycled in the manufacture of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) because it contains wood fibers. A comparative study was conducted to evaluate the properties of MDF made from virgin fibers mixed with different pulp and paper sludge sources. A factorial design was used in which factors were mill pulping processes, thermal-mechanical pulping (TMP), chemical-thermal-mechanical pulping (CTMP), and kraft pulping, and percentage of sludge mixed with virgin fibers (0, 25, 50, and 75%). Virgin fibers were obtained from paper birch wood, an underutilized species. Chemical composition, physical characteristics, pH, and buffer capacity of sludge were measured. MDF properties decreased mostly linearly with sludge content. Panel properties negatively correlated with the proportion of nonfibrous material such as ash and extractives. TMP and CTMP sludge sources produced panels of similar quality, and kraft sludge produced the lowest quality. It was concluded that the amount of sludge that can be incorporated into MDF without excessive decrease in panel quality depends on the pulping process. At 25% sludge content, all panels met ANSI quality requirements for MDF used for interior applications.


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Research Contributions