Particleboard is a non-structural panel made from the waste residues created in the manufacture of other wood products. It is generally used for industrial purposes as a raw material in the production of finished goods, such as ready-to-assemble furniture or cabinets. Particleboard is either hidden from view in a finished product or covered with a decorative coating such as a wood veneer or resin-impregnated paper.
Particleboard is produced from small wood particles bonded together with a resin (glue) under heat and pressure. Residues such as sawdust and planer shavings from sawmills are generally used. Particleboard is usually bonded with a non–water-resistant glue, making the product unsuitable for exterior and high-humidity environments.
The most important characteristic of particleboard is a smooth surface that will permit the efficient attachment of a coating. A smooth surface can be achieved through either a “multi-layer” composition (usually three or five layers) in which finer particles are deposited in the surface layers and coarser particles make up the core, or a “graduated” composition in which there is a continuous transition from the finest surface particles to the coarsest core particles.
Particleboard is generally produced in thicknesses ranging from ¼ inch to 1½ inches. Larger panel sizes can be produced, but the panels are typically cut to 4x8 feet for retail purposes. The technology used in the manufacture of particleboard is well-developed technology and produces a low-cost product.
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