A rapid press consolidation technique was used to produce composites from two types of air-laid wood fiber mat, incorporating either mechanically refined or bleached chemi-thermomechanically refined Norway Spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst] and a bicomponent polymer fiber. The manufacturing technique involved pre-compression, contact heating to the process temperature under vacuum and then rapid transfer to the press for consolidation and cooling. Composites were tested to determine response to water or water vapor, porosity, fiber volume fraction and tensile properties. The composites absorbed water rapidly and showed changes in thickness with fluctuations in relative humidity. Porosity was higher in composites containing mechanically refined (MDF) fibers than in composites containing bleached chemi-thermomechanically refined (CTMP) fibers. Tensile test results suggessted that fiber wetting by the polymer matrix had been maximized within a five-minute heating time. Results also indicated that had been maximized within a five-minute heating time. Results also indicated that porosity was not the key determinant of tensile properties in the composites.
International Journal of Polymeric Materials, 2002, Vol 51, Issue 11, p. 1005-1018
Polymer Process; Norway Spruce; Bicomponent Polymer Fibers; Mat Forming; Composites