Fundamental Studies of Wood Interface Modification for Formaldehyde Pollution Avoidance and Prevention

EPA Grant Number: R828565
Title: Fundamental Studies of Wood Interface Modification for Formaldehyde Pollution Avoidance and Prevention
Investigators: Meister, John J.
Current Investigators: Meister, John J. , Choi, Gun Y.
Institution: Forest Products Research Center
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 15, 2000 through September 14, 2003
Project Amount: $324,254
RFA: Technology for a Sustainable Environment (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


This proposal supports fundamental studies of thermoplastics which tacify the wood interface, allow wood to wood binding to occur, and use no formaldehyde-based binder. The goal of the work is to develop a new, formaldehyde free binding system for wood.


Most of the experiments of this research project will be based on an experimental design program. Experiments to make graft copolymer coupling agent will be based on previous experience in synthesizing these materials. Experiments to bind wood will be run in designed, statistically useful sets to determine how physical properties of the bound panels depend on the adhesive, its preparation process and chemical composition, its mode of application, and its concentration in the panel. Experimental design procedures will be used to relate number of grafts, molecular weights, grafting efficiency, weight percent backbone in the product, contact angle, critical surface tension, and coupling agent-polystyrene ratio to linear expansion, stability, panel and bond durability, tensile strength, panel shear modulus, compression strength, annealing time, use of different polystyrenes in the binder formulations, and application of the binder as a powder.

Expected Results:

Successful completion of this study will result in the development of a new binding system for wood panel formation that replaces formaldehyde-based binder with a thermoplastic binder and removes the major source of environmental exposure to formaldehyde. It will also produce technology to apply these binders and data on the effectiveness of the binders in connecting wood veneer, wood chips, or wood strands. These materials would be made from wood byproduct lignin, a major current waste product from our forests. The new chemistry for lignin modification and new binding process would remove formaldehyde while binding wood with a sustainable product produced from a waste of paper manufacture.

If a functional new binder for wood is developed, its widespread application would remove the major source of environmental exposure to formaldehyde for the population of the United States.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 27 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

plywood, urea-formaldehyde removal, particle board, phenol-formaldehyde removal, medium density fiber board, lignin utilization, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Economics and Business, environmentally conscious manufacturing, environmental hazard assessment, hazardous emissions, wood interface modification, emission controls, lignin, formaldehyde pollution, copolymer coupling agent, environmental exposure, innovative technology, thermoplastics, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final Report