Graduate Research School Available Projects Production of fibreboard from bamboo

Production of fibreboard from bamboo

Title of Project

Production of fibreboard from bamboo


Dr Greg Wheatley, Dr Liyuan Fan

College or Research Centre

College of Science & Engineering

Summary of Project

“Bamboo is a renewable resource that has been used as a construction material over the centuries. Bamboo differs from timber in that it is classified as a grass and as such it has the ability to grow to maturity in about 6 years. Due to this fast growth rate bamboo has a high yield for the land area planted. Fast growth results in a high release rate of oxygen back to the atmosphere and similarly carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere. The root system remains unharmed after harvesting and re-growth occurs rapidly. Forest management practices to international standards can also be met which promotes environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Bamboo flooring is a manufactured product and uses adhesives in its manufacture similar to many timber-based products. Due this there are requirements concerning formaldehyde emissions and in Europe it is necessary that bamboo flooring complies with emission class E1. Claims of compliance with this emission class are often evident on the packaging and literature relating to bamboo flooring entering Australia. Bamboo is able to offer many environmental benefits but this still requires sound management practices regarding the land being used for production, in the harvesting and in the factories producing the flooring. From an environmental perspective embodied energy and transportation, as with most products from China, also forms part of the equation which can be a factor overlooked in its carbon footprint.” “Steam explosion was introduced and patented as a biomass pretreatment process in 1926 by Mason. It is a thermomechanical process to break down the structural components of cellulose. In general, steam explosion is a process in which biomass is treated with hot steam (180 to 240°C) under pressure (1 to 3.5 MPa) followed by an explosive decompression of the biomass to atmospheric pressure that results in a rupture of the biomass fibres rigid structure, changing the starting material into a fibrous dispersed solid. The sudden release of pressure generates shear force which hydrolyzes the glycosidic bond and hydrogen bonds between the glucose chains. Steam explosion processes can be run in continuous or batch mode. A batch reactor is usually used for laboratory scale pre-treatment while continuous systems are commonly used for large-scale, industrial processes.” A wide variety of plants have been treated using these two pre-treatments (chemo-mechanical and steam explosion) including cotton, bamboo, ramie, sisal wheat straw, etc., to generate nanocellulose.” “Most bamboo flooring is manufactured in China from bamboo stems that are usually about 4 years old. After harvesting the stems are cut lengthwise into a number of pieces prior to further processing into laminated and strand woven flooring. The manufacture of laminated bamboo flooring is quite different to strand woven bamboo flooring. Laminated product initially requires small sections about 30 mm wide to be machined in rectangular shapes (25 mm wide and 6 mm thick), treated against insect attack and then kiln dried prior to board fabrication. The dry rectangular pieces are then either glued horizontally or vertically to provide the desired style of product. With strand woven flooring the bamboo pieces are cut into finer strands. These strands are then glued back together to form a sheet or beam from which raw boards are cut. Strand woven bamboo flooring is manufactured by two different processes known as the hot press and the cold press process. With the hot press process pressure and heat are applied to form sheets that are then cut into boards. From the cold press process, heat to cure the adhesive is applied after pressing the fibers into beams. The beams are then cut into boards. For internal flooring each of these processes can provide quality product. Due to the pressing processes with strand woven products they are denser and harder than laminated flooring.” In 2015-2016 Australian MDF manufacturers produced 615,708 cubic metres of MDF products in three different facilities. “MDF is often used in school projects because of its flexibility. Slatwall Panels made from MDF are used in the shop fitting industry. MDF is primarily used for indoor applications due to its poor moisture resistance. It is available in raw form, or with a finely sanded surface, or with a decorative overlay. MDF is also usable for furniture such as cabinets, because of its strong surface.” The project centres on design of steam explosion equipment to produce laboratory sized amounts of exploded bamboo mulch. A heated, pressurised system for producing the bamboo board should also be designed. These pieces of equipment should be fabricated within the JCU workshop and then used to produce test pieces of bamboo fibreboard. Testing of hardness and other parameters should be conducted as part of the thesis.

Key Words

stream explosion; bamboo; fibre board production

Would suit an applicant who

has a sound academic background, research experience, an interest in mechanical engineering and strong experimental and computational skills.

Updated: 15 Apr 2021