The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of the fortification level of nanowollastonite on urea-formaldehyde resin (UF) and its effect on mechanical and physical properties of oriented strand lumbers (OSL). Two resin contents are applied, namely, 8% and 10%. Nanowollastonite is mixed with the resin at two levels (10% and 20%). It is found that the fortification of UF resin with 10% nanowollastonite can be considered as an optimum level. When nanowollastonite content is higher (that is, 20%), higher volume of UF resin is left over from the process of sticking the strips together, and therefore is absorbed by wollastonite nanofibers. The mechanism involved in the fortification of UF resin with nanowollastonite, which results in an improvement of thickness swelling values, can be attributed to the following two main factors: (i) nanowollastonite compounds making active bonds with the cellulose hydroxyl groups, putting them out of reach for bonding with the water molecules and (ii) high thermal conductivity coefficient of wollastonite improving the transfer of heat to different layers of the OSL mat, facilitating better and more complete resin curing. Since nanowollastonite contributes to making bonds between the wood strips, which consequently improves physical and mechanical properties, its use can be safely recommended in the OSL production process to improve the physical and mechanical properties of the panel.
Keywords: UF resin; mechanical and physical properties; nanowollastonite; oriented strand lumber (OSL).