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Effects of resin open time and melamine addition on cold pre-pressing performance of a urea–formaldehyde resin

Gao, Qiang, Liu, Chang, Luo, Jianlin, Li, Xiaona, Chen, Liou, Wang, Wen, Li, Jianzhang
European journal of wood and wood products 2018 v.76 no.4 pp. 1253-1261
hydrogen bonding, melamine, molecular weight, pH, plywood, resins, shear strength, thermal properties, urea formaldehyde, viscosity, wood
The pre-pressing performance of urea formaldehyde resins has a significant impact on plywood production efficiency. This paper reports on the effects of the time elapsed after the addition of the hardener (“resin open time”) and of a melamine addition on the cold pre-pressing performance of UF resins. The changes in pH and viscosity, the thermal behaviour, and the structural composition as well as the performance during cold pre-pressing of veneers were investigated. Cold pre-pressing performance was measured by testing pre-pressed three-ply plywood stacks. The results showed that the cold pre-pressing performance is enhanced with longer time after preparation of the resin mix before application onto the veneers and also by longer pre-pressing times. All plywood stacks with at least 2 h pre-pressing time reached the so-called G1 grade (where the re-opened area of the cold pre-pressed plywood stack was 0), which meets the industrially accepted requirements for plywood fabrication. Further, the addition of melamine improved the cold pre-pressing behaviour compared to the investigated UF resin without melamine, showing an earlier start of the development of the pre-pressing shear strength and higher G grades at the various cold pressing times. There are two main reasons for the enhanced cold pre-pressing performance of the resin under the investigated conditions: (1) influence of the “resin open time”: a certain further condensation of the resin after preparing the glue mix (addition of hardener) leading to increased molar mass and viscosity ultimately transforming the resin from liquid-state to gel-state; (2) a higher methylol content in the resin after incorporation of melamine into the resin, which enhanced the formation of hydrogen bonds between the resin and the wood surface. These conclusions represent a feasible approach for the improvement of the cold pre-pressing properties and thus the practical applicability of UF resins with low molar ratios.