Mehdi Tajvidi, an assistant professor of renewable nanomaterials at the University of Maine, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about research he is involved in to develop eco-friendly particleboard panels with adhesive made of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). Tajvidi is working with several other UMaine researchers — William Gramlich, Doug Bousfield, Doug Gardner and Mike Bilodeau — as well as John Hunt from the USDA Forest Service to make strong, stiff and fully recyclable particleboard panels that can be used in countertops, door cores and furniture. “The materials that we are working with are just coming from mother nature. We don’t synthesize them, we just extract them from wood,” Tajvidi said. “And so this is basically biomaterial and has a very good potential because it has very exciting properties such as very high stiffness and strength, and a very wide range of applications for that.” The Associated Press also reported on the research. Portland Press Herald and Maine Public Broadcasting Network carried the AP report.
Researchers at the University of Maine are receiving $700,000 in grants to develop environmentally friendly particleboard panels. The money is from P3Nano, a public-private partnership started by the federal Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the U.S. Forest Service. One $350,000 grant will help UMaine scientists to make strong, recyclable particleboard panels for use as countertops, doors and furniture. Another grant will help the university to build a commercial scale plant to manufacture two tons of cellulose nanofibrils per day. UMaine researchers say cellulose nanofibrils are an adhesive that is an alternative to formaldehyde. A Massachusetts company is collaborating with the university on the plant, which will be built at a Turners Falls, Massachusetts mill.
UMaine’s proposals and seven others that are receiving grants were among 65 submissions.