Geopolymers as potential new binder class for the wood based composite industry
Geopolymer binders are an emerging class of mineral polymer that can be manufactured from natural raw materials and industrial byproducts containing high amounts of silica (Si) and alumina (Al) in mineral compositions. Various ratios of materials used for manufacturing geopolymer binder have been tested to evaluate the bonding performance of geopolymers with wood by means of tests performed on an automated bonding evaluation system (ABES). Tests with a binder based on sodium silicate water glass (Na 50T) are partly promising, which resulted only 10% lower shear strength than that based on urea formaldehyde. The binder characteristics were significantly influenced by changing the ratio of SiO2:M2O (M = Na or K) and the ratio solid content to chemical base in the water glass. Expectedly, increasing press temperatures and pressing times showed a positive correlation with the curing performance of geopolymer binder. It was also demonstrated that the binder properties can be changed in wide ranges to obtain binders which fulfill the minimum requirements set by industrial users.