Estimating Maximum Water Absorption of Wood Fiber/Polymer Fluff Composites

Sheldon Q. Shi, Douglas J. Gardner, John Z. Wang


The objective of this study was to develop a model to estimate the maximum water absorption (MWA) of wood fiber/polymer fluff composites as a function of polymer fluff content and board density. Polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate (PMDI) resin bonded dry-process wood fiber/polymer fluff composites were used in this study. Six polymer fluff contents (0, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 100%) and four target oven-dry board densities in the range of 0.50-1.00 g/cm3 were studied. A water immersion test was conducted on these boards. The effect of irreversible thickness swelling after water immersion (TSi) on the estimation of the maximum water absorption was evaluated. It was shown that the irreversible thickness swelling had a quadratic relationship with polymer fluff content and a linear relationship with oven-dry board density. The TSi of the composites used in this study was in the range of only 0.04-4.20%, which was negligible in the estimation of maximum water absorption. The prediction of maximum water absorption from the MWA model developed in this study was over 95% accuracy for most of the specimens. The maximum water absorption had a linear relationship with the polymer fluff content and a reciprocal relationship with board density.


wood composites;wood fiber/polymer fluff composites;water absorption;maximum water absorption

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