Improvement of fire retardancy of plywood by incorporating boron or phosphate compounds in the glue

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Abstract

A practical approach to enhancing the fire retardancy of wood-based materials by adding fire-retardant chemicals to the glue was developed. Plywoods were manufactured using urea melamine formaldehyde resin mixed with ammonium pentaborate or dihydrogen phosphate. Treated plywoods had better incombustibility than untreated ones. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis clearly demonstrated the distribution of boron and phosphorus, which had migrated from the glue to the wood, contributing to better fire retardant properties. The cross-sectional micrographs from scanning electron microscopy showed that untreated specimens exhibited a foamy structure near the interface in the glue layer and the deformed structure of wood cells. The cell structure and cell wall thickness retained intact in the specimens treated with urea melamine formaldehyde resin mixed with ammonium pentaborate or dihydrogen phosphate. When observing the effect of the thickness of overlay veneers on incombustibility, a shorter glowing time was obtained from the specimens with a thicker surface layer when the fire retardant chemical was added at 2%, but the differences were smaller at the higher chemical retention of 4%. A similar tendency was observed for the char length.

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