We have combined the unique properties of chemically-bonded inorganic binders with wood feedstock to develop fire-, moisture-, decay-, and mildew-resistant prototype composite panels for construction applications. The inorganic binders are magnesium-based and require significantly less energy to produce than the traditional petroleum-based resins found in most wood-based construction panels. The manufacture of the composite panels requires no heat, and the wood feedstock does not need to be dried. Thus, the manufacturing process requires much less energy and releases minimal VOCs when compared to traditional wood-based panels. Further, the inorganic binders do not contain formaldehyde, unlike most traditional resins.
We envision this product as an improved and energy-efficient replacement for plywood, particleboard, and high- and medium-density fiberboard in several applications, including laminating platforms and substrates for laminate flooring and/or engineered wood flooring; laminating platforms for kitchen and bathroom countertops; and bottom panels for sink bases. We are gauging industry interest in these and other applications and are continuing with further development.