Thermoplastic polymers as modifiers for urea-formaldehyde (UF) wood adhesives. II. Procedures for the preparation and characterization of thermoplastic-modified UF wood composites

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Wood composites were prepared by using wood flour (sugar maple, Acer saccharum March) and thermoplastic-modified urea-formaldehyde (UF) suspensions. Thermoplastic (5-10% w/v) was introduced into the UF suspension as an aqueous solution, a self-stabilized dispersion in water, or as a surfactant-stabilized latex. The modified suspension was blended with wood flour, and the blend was cured by using a cure cycle that was suitable for all the thermoplastic-modified UF formulations and unmodified UF controls. The wood flour composites were tested by using a notched Izod impact strength test. All formulations containing surfactant decreased the impact strength by ∼ 30-40% relative to the unmodified UF control, whereas the water-soluble thermoplastic had no effect on the impact strength. The formulations with self-dispersed thermoplastics all increased the notched Izod impact strength, with the greatest increase being 69% more than the UF control, except in a single instance when the molecular weight of the thermoplastic was very high, which decreased resin flow. Increasing the thermoplastic content from 5 to 10% w/v did not further improve the impact test results. Scanning electron microscopy of the fracture surfaces showed morphological differences in the systems that varied with the thermoplastic and method of thermoplastic addition to the UF suspension. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 87.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science