Evaluation on Oil Palm Plywood Properties | Natural Materials | Chemistry

Holz Roh Werkst (2008) 66: 5–10 DOI 10.



Evaluation on some finishing properties of oil palm plywood
Othman Sulaiman · Rokiah Hashim · Razak Wahab · Hashim Wan Samsi · Azmy Hj. Mohamed

Published online: 27 July 2007 © Springer-Verlag 2007

Abstract Oil palm is the largest and most important plantation crop in Malaysia. The oil palm generally lasts for 25–30 years before the next replantation is done. Substantial amount of biomass in the form of palm trunk results from plantation cycle. This resource is simply left on the ground to decay and is not used as raw material to manufacture any kind of value-added products. The objective of this study was to investigate the possibility of manufacturing plywood from oil palm trunks and to evaluate some of the finishing properties of such experimental panels in comparison to those from Shorea sp as control samples. Three-ply plywood samples were produced from 5 mm thick veneers of oil palm using urea formaldehyde adhesive. Three types of chemicals, namely nitrocellulose, pre-catalyzed lacquer and polyurethane were used to finish experimental panels. The surface finished with nitrocellulose had the lowest contact angle on raw surface of oil palm plywood and wood. The average cross cut tape index of oil palm plywood was comparable to Shorea sp. All finishing materials of oil palm plywood produced impact rating of 4 except for surface finished with nitrocellulose while finishing on wood indicated
O. Sulaiman (u) · R. Hashim School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia e-mail: othman@usm.my R. Wahab Universiti Malaysia Sabah, 88999 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia H. W. Samsi Forest Research Institute Malaysia, 11800, 52109 Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia A. H. Mohamed Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 48300 Selangor, Malaysia

an impact rating of 3. Oil palm plywood had higher weight loss compared to Shorea sp. Based on results from contact angle, cross cut tape index, impact rate test, weathering, and soil burial test methods it appears that the samples showed acceptable finishing properties comparable to those of solid wood.

Bewertung der Oberfl¨ cheneigenschaften a ¨ von unterschiedlich behandeltem Olpalmen-Sperrholz ¨ Zusammenfassung Die Olpalme ist das mengenm¨ ßig a gr¨ ßte und wichtigste Erzeugnis der Plantagen in Malayo sia. Der Bestand wird in der Regel nach 25–30 Jahren erneuert und neu angepflanzt. Aufgrund dieses Zyklus f¨ llt eine beachtliche Menge an Biomasse in Form von a Palmenst¨ mmen an. Diese Ressource bleibt liegen und a verfault und wird nicht als Rohmaterial zur Herstellung irgendwelcher Erzeugnisse genutzt. Ziel dieser Studie war es, die M¨ glichkeiten der Sperrholzherstellung aus o ¨ Olpalmenst¨ mmen zu untersuchen und die Oberfl¨ chena a eigenschaften solcher Versuchsplatten mit Kontrollproben ¨ aus Shorea sp. zu vergleichen. Aus 5 mm dicken OlpalmenFurnieren wurden unter Verwendung von Harnstoff-Formaldehydharz dreilagige Sperrholzproben hergestellt. Die Oberfl¨ chen der Versuchsplatten wurden mit den drei Chea mikalien Nitrocellulose, vorkatalysiertes Beschichtungsmaterial sowie Polyurethan behandelt. Die mit Nitrocellulose behandelte, nicht weiter bearbeitete Oberfl¨ che hatte den a kleinsten Kontaktwinkel. Der durchschnittliche Abhebefes¨ tigkeitsindex von Olpalmen-Sperrholz war mit demjenigen von Shorea sp. vergleichbar. Bis auf die mit Nitrocellulose behandelten Oberfl¨ chen wurden alle Materialen zur a ¨ Oberfl¨ chenbehandlung von Olpalmen-Sperrholz bei der a Stoßpr¨ fung mit 4 bewertet, wohingegen Holz durchschnittu


Shah Alam. For each finishing type. Meincken et al. The same number of panels and replicates were used for control as those used for oil palm plywood. 40 million tonnes are in the form of oil palm frond. The evaluation was based on investigating properties of the finishing material on the surface. 1) nitrocellulose (Wicks et al. the potential benefit of oil palm veneers is primarily confined to inner layers or core veneer in plywood making. In this investigation Shorea sp was used as control. the finishing of the material becomes very important. Shorea sp is widely used in wood based industries. The sample panels were further cut to 4 cm × 9 cm for further testing. However.und Erdeingrabeversuchsveru fahren wies das Sperrholz im Vergleich zu Massivholz tendenziell akzeptable Oberfl¨ cheneigenschaften auf. This oil palm biomass is largely left underutilized and could also be the causes of severe environmental pollution. surface preparation and proper applications at various finishing processes used (Leonard et al. The veneers were dried to about 10%–12% moisture content. empty fruit bunches and oil palm trunk (MTC 2005). Wettability properties of surface was investigated by estimating contact angle of water droplet on clear surface of the samples based on work carried out by Yamamoto et al. The image of the droplet was 1 Introduction Oil palm is one of the most significant plantation crops in Malaysia partially covering a total area of approximately 3. Stoßpr¨ fungs-. Der Masseverlust bei OlpalmenSperrholz war gr¨ ßer als bei Shorea sp. Currently. For such a possibility. the surface structure of oil palm may behave differently. 3) polyurethane (Wicks et al. 1983). Utilization of oil palm trunk for plywood including for the surface and the back had been tested. performance and properties of the final finishes depend on the surface structure. Selangor. One of the more considerable properties of oil palm plywood is to study the possibility of using it for high valueadded products such as furniture and indoor housing components. It was carried out using sessile drop technique by dropping 10 µl of distilled water on oil palm plywood surface. The samples were about 25 years old. All finishing materials were obtained and supplied by Polycure (M) Sdn. 1983). Malaysia. The objective of this study was to investigate the possibility of manufacturing plywood from oilpalm trunks and to 13 . cross cut tape index.35 million tonnes of palm oil per year (Basiron and Weng 2004). impact rate test. 2) pre-catalyzed lacquer (Leonard et al. 2002. 2 Materials and methods Oil palm trunk representative samples were obtained from palm oil plantation in Kedah. There are many finishing chemicals for furniture available in the market (Wicks et al. Three types of finishing materials were chosen in this study. For comparison. The samples were then made into 3-ply oil palm plywood of 25 cm × 25 cm dimension using urea formaldehyde resin with a glue spread rate of 230 g/m2 before cold pressed for 5 min and hot pressed at a temperature of 110 ◦ C using a pressure of 110 kg/m2 for 10 min. Each year. 10 sample panels were made. Abhebefestigkeits-. Oil palm trunk was freshly cut and peeled using chuckless lathe and converted into 5 mm veneer thickness.8 million hectares and producing about 13. Finishing application was made based on the manufacturer’s recommendation primarily used for finishing wood surface using similar procedures for all types of finishing materials investigated. The application of the finishings was done by brushing. Oil palm can also be used to produce plywood or laminated veneer lumber as value added products. All samples including controls were then conditioned at 20 ◦ C ± 65% RH for at least 3 weeks. (1988). Contact angle value was used as an indicator for wettability of a surface. Basierend auf o den Ergebnissen der Kontaktwinkel-. 1999). the chemical utilization. pulp and paper and other products (Ramli et al. the adhesion of chemical on the surface. Mahmud and Ahmad 2005). The quality. a evaluate some of the finishing properties and compare them with those of Shorea sp as control samples. It is measured based on angle of droplet on a surface at specified time normally in seconds. more research needs to be carried out to enhance overall quality of final product. 1999. Mass utilization of oil palm trunk in the form of value-added panels may play a significant role from the point of environmental pollution and sustainable utilization of natural resources. 2006). Bewitterungs. the same finishing procedures were used on wood. Yusof 1997). The lower the contact angle with time means that the surface could absorb more water or other liquid (Kalnins and Feist 1993. Plywood products using oil palm as core veneer were found to provide sufficient strength and to be useful for short term utilization such as packaging material. The samples were then sanded using belt sander machine grade 280 grit size for 3 times with equal amount of sanding time and later they were cut to required sizes. Malaysia produces about 90 million tonnes of oil palm biomass and out of this. Many studies have been conducted to identify the viable possibilities of using oil palm waste biomass as a raw material for wood based products such as medium density fiberboard. The quality of the finishing performance was then evaluated using several tests such as contact angle. weathering test and soil burial study. However.6 Holz Roh Werkst (2008) 66: 5–10 ¨ lich als 3 eingestuft wurde. Wood veneer is subsequently being used as surface and back layer. 1999).

It is a standard test method for measuring adhesion by means of tape test.9) Shorea sp. The finishing surface was cut into small squares that form grids using a cutting tool Cross Hatch Cut Model 295. The finishing chemical seems to be able to block the passageway of water/liquid and Table 1 Contact angle of water droplet on surface of oil palm plywood and Shorea sp.5) 67 (4.4) 83 (4. As an example in this Figure.2) 65 (4. Oil palm plywood Time (sec) Finishing materials Before finishing Nitrocellulose Pre-catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane 0 34 (5. Before finishing Nitrocellulose Pre-catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane 42 (4. Six samples each from control and finished oil palm plywood panels size 4 cm × 9 cm were exposed to indoor room condition and outside in an open condition. The contact angle of the finishing materials on raw surface is presented in Table 2. Four denotes that there is no effect observed on the surface. A score of 5 means that the surface is unaffected by the tape while a score of 0 means that more than 65% of finishing materials were removed from the substrate. Impact rate test was done by dropping a weighted ball of 2 m height to the surface of the finishing chemical. The appearance on the finish surface was then given a rating between 0–4.7) 62 (4.9) 82 (5.6) a Values in () are the standard deviation 13 . This could be due to the rougher surface of oil palm veneer compared to wood. University Science Malaysia.2) 60 (9.3) 32 (3. Finishing materials showed to have improved the contact angle of oil palm plywood. 5. Color measurements CIE L*a*b* using a Chromameter Minolta CR 300 were taken weekly for 5 weeks. A rating of 0 will be given if more than 25% of finish was removed from the area of indentation. This obviously will improve the absorption of oil palm plywood. However the contact angle varied among the finishing materials.2) 81 (6.2) 40 0 33 (3. Figure 1a shows a surface layer of finishing material.6) 65 (8. Soil burial study was conducted to investigate the durability of the oil palm plywood.7) 58 (3.2) 58 (4. The grid area was then inspected and given a score index of 0–5.8) 35 (3. Tabelle 1 Kontaktwinkel eines Wassertropfens auf der Oberfl¨ che von a ¨ Olpalmen-Sperrholz und Shorea sp. The finishing material forms a smooth top layer. Fifteen replicate measurements of contact angle were done on each surface sample. Cross cut tape index was carried out according to ASTM D3359 (1997).7) 5 10 20 Contact angle (◦ ) 0 0 0 39 (2. The tape was then removed by rapidly pulling off the tape as close to an angle of 30◦ as possible. The results showed that the contact angle on the surface of oil palm plywood is lower than for Shorea sp.9) 62 (5. it shows nitrocellulose finishing on the top surface of oil palm plywood.3) 81 (5.2) 60 (3.Holz Roh Werkst (2008) 66: 5–10 7 taken using video with time in second recorded.3) 70 (3. The contact angles of the droplets were then measured in time series of 0. Weathering test was carried out according to ASTM E308-01 (2006).8) 60 (5.4) 82 (6. Eight replicates of 4 cm × 9 cm were used for each finishing. It was conducted according to ASTM1413 D (1979).3) 81 (5.1) 82 (4.9) 82 (5. Fifteen replicate test blocks of size 4 cm × 9 cm were prepared from panels that were finished with the same procedure as mentioned in an earlier experiment.3) 82 (6.2) 38 (3. Pressure sensitive tape was then placed over the grid. 20 and 40 s. Penang.6) 44 (3.4) 82 (7.4) 41 (4. particularly to oil palm plywood before finishing. A cross cut viewing of finishing on the samples were observed using LEO Supra 50Vp Ultra-High resolution analytical field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). Oil palm plywood surfaces without any finishing were used as control. This purposely produced an impact force on the surface of the material.5)a 44 (6. Eight replicates were used for each finishing type.1) 60 (6. The surface finished with nitrocellulose had the lowest contact angle on raw surface of oil palm plywood and wood.5) 69 (4.5) 76 (6. Nitrocellulose probably absorbed easily on oil palm plywood surface.2) 34 (3. Weight loss based on oven dry weight of the samples was then measured. The samples were then exposed to garden soil for 8 weeks at trial plot. before finishing and after final finishing with various finishing materials are given in Table 1. Impact rate test was carried out according to BS3962: Part 6 (1975). 3 Results and discussion The average contact angles of water droplets on the surface of oil palm plywood and Shorea sp.2) 81 (7.

2.0 (0.1)a Pre catalyzed lacquer 58 58 (3. Cross cut tape index is normally used to measure the degree of adhesion of the finishing chemical to the substrate.0 4. As for wood the finishing materials able to penetrate in the vessel and fiber lumen (Fig. Nitrocellulose 15 15 (1.2) a Values in () are the standard deviation Holz Roh Werkst (2008) 66: 5–10 Average Cross Cut Tape Index Oil palm Shorea plywood sp.24) 4.0 4.).8) Polyurethane 26 46 (2. A smooth layer on the top surface of oil palm plywood and wood seems to be similar.12) 2. The finishing chemicals could probably penetrate deeper from the surface and provide better adhesion for oil palm plywood compared to wood.0 (0. The results showed that the average cross cut tape index of oil palm plywood was comparable to the one of wood (Shorea sp.17) Fig.7) (2.0 2.0) (0. 1 FESEM micrograph of oil palm plywood and Shorea sp. 1 Mikroskopische Aufnahmen von ¨ Olpalmen-Sperrholz und Shorea sp.0 2.14) 4. Some of the finishing chemical able to penetrate further inside and filled up the parenchyma lumen for oil palm plywood (Fig. 1a). nitrocellulose) on wood (Shorea sp.e.) (see Table 2).22) Average Impact Rate Oil palm Shorea plywood sp. The compression of lumen did not occur in wood for both vessel and fiber lumen (Fig.12) (0. 1b showed a similar finishing material (i. Abb.0 (0. Vessel and fiber lumen still seem to maintain as in the original/initial form.0 (0.32) (0.15) (0.8 Table 2 Contact angle. 1c). durchschnittlicher Abhebefestigkeitsindex und Klassierung beim Stoßversuch Contact angle after 40 s (◦ ) Finishing Oil palm Shorea Materials plywood sp.0 (0.5) (2. subsequently reduces the absorption of oil palm plywood.0 (0.0 2.11) (0. 1a). average cross cut tape index and impact rate test Tabelle 2 Kontaktwinkel.5) (3. The compression of the oil palm lumen might in this case occur during the hot press of oil palm plywood making. 3. 13 .0 3.0) (0. 1b) Parenchyma lumen of oil palm plywood could be seen being compressed to some extend (Fig. As for comparison Fig.13) 4.

20 +1. (control) Nitrocellulose Pre catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane ∆L +0.62 +5. Impact rate test on surface of oil palm plywood after being finished indicated no apparent damage occurred.40 −0. The weight loss method uses unsteriled soil burial as an indication of durability of oil palm plywood.21 +6. this increase in durability will probably not be permanent.05 +5. The results showed that there was no effect of impact on the finishing of oil palm plywood (see Table 2). The darker color produced was due to the response of the surfaces material to UV from exposure to sunlight. Finishing Materials Oil palm Without finishing plywood Nitrocellulose Pre-catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane Shorea Without finishing sp.22 +14.28 +0.92 ∆E 22.22 +0.40 11. (Table 5). Nitrocellulose Pre-catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane Without finishing (control) a Weight Loss (%) 47. As expected. Higher weight loss showed lower durability of the material.27 with those having finishing materials applied to the surfaces (Feist 1982. The results certainly showed that oil palm plywood has the required capacity to be a good raw material for wood industries.6 (3. With proper finishing schemes the surface of oil palm plywood could become as good as wood. However.18 +0. It might be a delay in the deterioration.09 +0.28 −0. Finishing materials increased the durability especially for those finished with polyurethane. 1988).47 0. The lowest code of 0 will be given if the extent of finishing material chipped out was around 25%.22 0.30 +0. oil palm plywood showed to be very vulnerable to biodeterioration attack even 13 . exposed to indoor after 5 weeks Tabelle 3 Ergebnisse eines f¨ nfw¨ chigen Bewitterungsversuchs unu o ¨ ter Innenraumbedingungen mit oberfl¨ chenbehandeltem Olpalmena Sperrholz und Shorea sp.41 +10.554 0.2 (5.24 −0. This is comparatively similar to wood. Comparatively finishing on wood surface briefly indicated a lower rating code compared to oil palm plywood with a rating code of 3 on average.2) 50.3 −6.85 −0. All finishing materials produced a rating of 4 except for surface finished with nitrocellulose.50 −0. If there are no visible effects on the impact.38 −0.74 18.2) 2.08) Values in () are the standard deviation Table 3 Weathering study of finished oil palm plywood and Shorea sp.21 +5.86 (0.15 +0.4) 35.95 −8.9 (0.10 +18. exposure to exterior condition showed a significant darker color on the surface (Tables 3 and 4). This is expected because oil palm plywood contains a high amount of readily available food such as starch.44 Change in colour ∆a ∆b +5.10 +0.26 Change in colour ∆a ∆b −0. Starch granules provide an easy source of food for biodeterioration agent. If the samples were to be exposed longer the deterioration will probably be increased further even Table 5 Soil burial study Tabelle 5 Ergebnisse des Erdeingrabeversuchs Oil palm plywood Finishing Materials Nitrocellulose Pre-catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane Without finishing (control) Shorea sp.067 −0.33 +4. Finishing Materials Oil palm Without finishing plywood (control) Nitrocellulose Pre catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane Shorea Without finishing sp.5)a 40.00 6. Surface color change of oil palm plywood after being finished did not show any changes in color after exposure to internal condition.6 (5.0 −1.09 ∆E 0. 4 Conclusions The contact angle on the surface of oil palm plywood improved significantly after applying the finishing materials.7 (4. exposed to exterior after 5 weeks Tabelle 4 Ergebnisse eines f¨ nfw¨ chigen Bewitterungsversuchs u o ¨ unter Außenbedingungen mit oberfl¨ chenbehandeltem Olpalmena Sperrholz und Shorea sp.60 −0.09 −0.00 9.Holz Roh Werkst (2008) 66: 5–10 9 Table 4 Weathering study of finished oil palm plywood and Shorea sp. it will be rated as 4.21 +0. Nitrocellulose Pre-catalyzed lacquer Polyurethane ∆L +9. Oil palm plywood showed to have higher weight loss compared to Shorea sp.22 11.5 +4.51 The result of the impact was observed and rated based on a rating code of 0–4. Oil palm plywood showed to have a high potential to be used as another alternative raw material for wood based industry. However.21 −4.70 −3.3 (0.20 −0. The finishing materials seem to provide some surface protection compared to those without any finishing.09) 1. This food source promotes growth of biodeterioration agents such as fungal.97 (0.60 0.08 −0. The estimated amounts of finishing materials being chipped out due to this impact were observed.13 −0.05) 0.55 0. The degree of adhesion using cross cut tape of oil palm plywood was as good as wood.11 10.01 −0.37 +1.51 +16.57 +9. There were no significant changes in color after exposure to internal condition.28 −0. bacteria as well as insects.65 0.117 −0.18 0.68 −0.14 +10.72 15.28 +0.12) 0. Figure 1d shows the presence of starch granules in the parenchyma lumen.

influence on sunlight irradiation. 153–156 Meincken M. Nanjing. http://mtc. Hashim R (1988) Caoutchouc in teak wood (Tectona grandis L. Shah Alam.f. Feist WC (1993) Increase in wettability of wood with weathering. Appl Surf Sci 253(2): 805–809 MTC (2005) Malaysian Timber Council. In: Proceedings of Forest Products Research Society 7318. J Coat Technol 54(686):43–50 Feist WC (1988) Weathering performance of finished southern pine plywood siding. Bhd. pre-catalyzed lacquer and polyurethane) could be used as finishing material successfully on oil palm plywood surface and were comparable to those of wood.my/news/ pr164. Japanese International Research Center for Agricultural Science (JIRCAS) Working Report No.Werkst 56(3):201–209 Yusof MN (1997) High yield pulping of oil palm frond fibers in Malaysia. Acknowledgement We would like to acknowledge Business Esprit Sdn. China after being finished. Pappas SP (1999) Organic Coatings Science and Technology 2nd edn. hydrophobicity and decay resistance. Penang. In: Proceedings of the Nanjing International Symposium on High Yield Pulping.htm Ramli R. Klash A. USA Mahmud SZ. Sanderson RD (2006) Influence of the viscosity and the substrate on the surface hydrophobicity of polyurethane coatings. Bouldin DL. For Prod J 38(3):22–28 Kalnins MA. References ASTM D3359 (1997) Standard test method for measuring adhesion by tape test ASTM E308-01 (2006) Standard practice for computing the colors of objects by using the CIE system ASTM1413 D (1979) Standard test method for wood preservative by laboratory soil-block cultures Basiron Y. Jones FN.): formation.com. Weng CK (2004) The role of research and development strategies in Food Safety and Good Agricultural. Malaysia for generously providing oil palm veneer in this research. J Oil Palm Res 14(2):34–40 Wicks ZW. New York Yamamoto K. Manufacturing and distribution practices in the Malaysian Palm oil industry. 39 pp. It appears that if proper finishing processes are used surface characteristics of oil palm plywood could be as good as those made from solid wood. Martz JA (1983) Transparent film forming coatings. location. Wiley Interscience Publication. Oil Palm Ind Econ J 5(1):1–16 13 .. Sincere acknowledgement is also due to Polycure (M) Sdn. Thanks to lab staff in School of Industrial Technology and students participating in the project. Jamaludin MA (2002) Properties of medium density fibreboard from oil palm empty fruit bunch fibre. For Prod J 43(2):55–57 Leonard LS. All finishing materials (nitrocellulose.10 Holz Roh Werkst (2008) 66: 5–10 BS3962: Part 6 (1975) Finishes for wooden furniture: Assessment of resistance to mechanical damage Feist WC (1982) Weathering characteristics of finished wood-based panel products. Seboa S. Holz Roh. Selangor for supplying the finishing chemicals. Shaler S. The evaluation indicated that the properties of the finishing material on the surface quality finishes will improve the marketability demand of oil palm trunk as potential raw material. Simatupang MH. Ahmad M (2005) Contact angles of liquid adhesives on oil palm trunk veneer surfaces.

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