17 March 2017
Engineered solutions are taking over from natural wood
David Connacher, Norbord Brand Manager
In an age when nearly all building products are mass-produced, natural timber has a unique position in the industry.
Timber is a natural product and like all products of
The response of the industry has been to develop engineered wood products - materials which, instead of being hewn out of solid wood, are manufactured by bonding small pieces of wood fibre together to produce a homogenous product.
Today's wood panel products are among the best-known examples of engineered wood. Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) is made by mixing sawdust with a strong resin and curing itunder pressure to create a solid board with a smooth and consistent texture all the way through. Production of particleboard achieves a similar effect by using larger wood particles. Both these products are free of defects and are easy to work with.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB), however, provides the best example of how timber's natural strength can be exploited and even enhanced through an engineered process. Thin flakes of softwood fibre, coated with a resin binder, are laid down in layers to create a deep bed of loose fibres. The assembly process carefully orientates each layer so that the fibres overlap in different directions.
The fibre mat is then compressed under great pressure and heat is applied to cure the resin. The resulting board is stiff and strong, with the fibres oriented in such a way as to maximise bending resistance.
Timber floor ‘cassettes' are now commonly used in
Though natural wood is still used in many building applications, engineered alternatives are taking over both in the development of MMCs and in traditional roles: "Particleboard flooring has almost completely taken over from sawn and planed floorboards," comments Norbord brand manager, David Connacher.
For further information, call 01786 812 921 or visitwww.norbord.co.uk.
Taylor Alden Ltd
Unit 2 Temple Place
247 The Broadway
Tel: 020 8543 3866