Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New recyclable building material, made partially from potatoes, could help solve waste problem

Date:
October 31, 2013
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
A new biodegradable and recyclable form of medium density fibreboard (MDF) has been created that could dramatically reduce the problem of future waste.

Cupboards.
Credit: Andy Abbott

A new biodegradable and recyclable form of medium density fibreboard (MDF) has been created that could dramatically reduce the problem of future waste.

Almost one million tonnes of MDF is produced in the UK every year. It is a cheap and popular engineered wood product widely used for furniture and other products in homes, offices and retail businesses. However, as MDF cannot be recycled, waste MDF either has to be incinerated or ends up in landfill.

Professor Abbott and his team at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester have developed a new wood-based product similar to MDF that uses a resin based on starch from completely natural sources, including potatoes.

A significant proportion of MDF is used for short term applications in the retail sector. The use of a material which can either be recycled or composted would be a significant benefit to an industry often criticised for the amount of waste it generates.

MDF is made by breaking down bits of wood into wood fibres, which are then pressurised and stuck together with resin and wax. The resin is currently composed of urea and formaldehyde (UF), the use of which is restricted due to health concerns. Professor Abbott's new resin means that the use of UF is avoided and therefore so too are the associated concerns.

With the aid of colleagues at the Biocomposites Centre, Bangor University and the Leicestershire-based retail design company Sheridan and Co., his team have produced starch-based boards which have been made into retail display units.

Today (31 October), Professor Andrew Abbott is awarded the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation 2013 that will help him make the critical step from prototype to product.

Professor Abbott's new material is easier to manufacture and easier to work with than current MDF boards.

The practical studies were led by Dr Will Wise who said: "It has been a technological challenge to develop material with the correct properties, but it is a great thrill to see the finished boards which look identical to the MDF which is so commonly used."

The new material is easier to manufacture than existing MDF as the components are easily pre-mixed and only set on the application of heat and pressure; end user feedback suggests it is also easier to work with than currently available MDF boards.

On receiving the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation, Professor Abbott said: "The Brian Mercer Award is fundamental in enabling us to take this project forward to the next stage; it means we can now scale up our process from laboratory to the full scale manufacture of a product that I hope will revolutionise industries dependent on MDF and provide them with a more environmentally-friendly alternative."

Professor Abbott will receive 172,347, which will be used to bring the four collaborators together to create a supply chain to create prototypes for the point-of-sale market. The Brian Mercer Award for Innovation is a scheme for scientists who wish to develop an already proven concept or prototype into a near-market product ready for commercial exploitation.

Professor Abbott and his group at University of Leicester are also developing new fillers for plastics based on orange and banana peel and eggshell. These waste materials can lead to improved strength, hardness and cost benefits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "New recyclable building material, made partially from potatoes, could help solve waste problem." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031110536.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2013, October 31). New recyclable building material, made partially from potatoes, could help solve waste problem. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031110536.htm
University of Leicester. "New recyclable building material, made partially from potatoes, could help solve waste problem." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031110536.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins