Evaluation of low density hybrid panels using expandable granules: effect of granules diameter and content
Low density hybrid panels (16 mm thickness) were produced using wood fiber as face layers and a mixture of coarse wood particles and expandable polystyrene (EPS) as core layer. The EPS was foamed (in-situ foaming) in the core layer during the pressing stage. The effects of granules diameter (0.4, 0.8, 1.15, 1.5, and 2.2 mm) and granules content (5, 10, and 15%) on the physical and mechanical properties were evaluated. The results showed that both variables had significantly influenced the panels’ properties. Mechanical properties mostly depended on the level of mechanical inter-locking of EPS with wood particles, while the physical properties were mostly influenced by the EPS distribution. Stronger mechanical inter-locking of EPS with wood particles was achieved by both larger diameter and higher amount of EPS granules (2.2 mm and 15%). A better EPS distribution between the wood particles was observed with the smaller EPS granules and higher amount of EPS (0.4 mm and 15%).