Production of particle board using Sawdust and Plastic Waste

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The high demand for forest timber has led to high deforestation rate worldwide. This has caused negative impact on the environment. In Ghana, in the processing of these forest timbers for export and domestic purposes enormous quantities of wood residues including sawdust are produced annually and these residues are usually not put into commercial use. Moreover, Ghana and most countries in the world are engulfed with plastic waste emanating from drinking water manufacturers, plastic product manufacturers as well as packages of materials. Studies are being conducted on the search for the possible effective ways of utilisation of sawdust as well as possible ways of recycling these plastics. This study focuses on the use of sawdust in the production of particleboard using low density polyethylene as an adhesive. In the production, the sawdust was collected and separated whiles the polyethylene was collected, washed, dried and shredded. The two materials were mixed using plastic-sawdust combination (1:1.75, 1:2 and 1: 1.3). The mixture was pressed at a pressure of 6.5kgcm -2 in 1 hour and at two different temperatures (145 o C and 200 o C). The moisture content and densities as well as bending and compression properties of the boards were examined. Results show that the bending stress of the boards ranges from 0.7 to 3.07Nmm -2 whiles that of the compression stress ranges from 0.399 to 3.242Nmm -2 . The density of the boards also ranges from 316kgm -3 to 383kgm -3 at 3.0% - 4.7% moisture content. However, the highest bending stress of 3.07Nmm -2 and compression stress of 3.242Nmm -2 was obtained from the board with 1:1.3kg plastic-sawdust combination and temperature of 200 o C. Generally, the results of the physical and mechanical properties of the sawdust and low density polyethylene particleboard were comparable to medium density particleboards available. iv However, high temperature in the production was noticed to have resulted in boards with low moisture content, whiles the reduction of polyethylene in the plastic-sawdust combination of particleboards produced resulted in increased bending and compression stresses of the boards.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of Wood Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Wood Science and Technology