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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Commercialization of New Industrial Crop Germplasm and Cropping Systems Title: Kenaf composition boards with termite resistance

Authors
item Chow, P -
item Nakayama, Francis
item Coffelt, Terry
item Vinyard, Stephen

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 13, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Composition boards resistant to insect damage are desirable for construction in order to reduce damage and repair costs. Two types of commercial boards were made from kenaf stalks. The boards were impregnated with guayule resin which has been shown to impart termite and insect resistance. Standard test methods showed that the boards met industry standards and were resistant to termite damage. These results will be of use to the construction industry as well as processors and growers of kenaf and guayule.

Technical Abstract: Composition boards resistant to insect damage are a desirable feature for use in industrial and home construction. Such material should greatly reduce the costly replacement of termite damaged wood and insure the structural integrity of the building. Acceptance of such products would be further enhanced by using raw materials that are cheap and environmentally acceptable. The objective of this investigation was to fabricate termite-resistance, medium density kenaf composition boards. The two most common types of commercial wood- or bio-based composition board, ‘Flake-board’ and ‘Fiberboard’, were made from Kenaf stalks. Sections of flake-board and fiberboard were treated with de-rubberized guayule resin and acetone of different concentrations to impregnate the blocks. Both flake-boards and fiberboards were tested for mechanical and physical properties. Standard test methods for evaluating properties of wood-based fiberboard and particle panel materials were used. The resin-treated and untreated blocks were exposed to the Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes spp.) following methods described in American Society for Testing and Materials procedures. More than 200 active termites were put into each specimen bottle consisting of sand and wood blocks. The termite activity in each bottle was observed and monitored daily for four weeks. The rating of the approximate termite mortality was: Slight (0 to 33%), Moderate (34 to 66%), and Heavy (67 to 99%). The results of physical and mechanical properties tests indicate that flake-board and fiberboard made from kenaf stalks have promising potential as alternative fibrous materials for the wood products industry for making fiberboards and composition panels. A combination based on two new crops, kenaf and guayule, provided the means of producing medium-density flake-board and fiberboard resistant to termites. When the raw materials are considered as waste or by-product sources, the fabrication of termite-resistant, medium-density flake-board and fiberboard appears to be economically feasible. Also, the possibility exists of blending guayule bagasse that still contains the resin with kenaf fiber to produce higher density composition panel products.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014
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