Has MDF had its chips?

Posted by ap507 at Oct 31, 2013 10:30 AM |
Professor Andrew Abbott wins Innovation Award for recyclable fibreboard research based on natural sources
Has MDF had its chips?

Image © Wikimedia Commons

Cupboards
© Andy Abbott
When the chips are down, novel solutions are always just around the corner. Professor Andrew Abbott from the Department of Chemistry has been awarded the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation 2013 for his research into a new recyclable form of medium density fibreboard (MDF) that is based on starch from natural sources, including potatoes.

MDF has taken root in people's everyday lives - almost one million tonnes of MDF is produced in the UK every year for furniture and business products. However, as MDF cannot currently be recycled, waste MDF either has to be incinerated, which is time-consuming and expensive, or ends up in landfill sites.

The new material developed by Professor Abbott and his team is easier to manufacture than existing MDF as the components are easily pre-mixed. It is also biodegradable, making for a far more a-peeling product.

The team are also developing new fillers for plastics based on orange and banana peel and eggshell. These waste materials can lead to improved strength, hardness and cost benefits.

The Brian Mercer Award for Innovation is a scheme for scientists who wish to develop an already proven concept or prototype into a near-market product ready for commercial exploitation.

Watch a video of Professor Abbott discussing his work below.