Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)
Dry process fibreboards such as MDF and HDF are engineered wood-based panels made by bonding together wood fibres with a synthetic resin adhesive. A typical process involves reducing wood down to small chips, which are then thermally softened and mechanically refined into fibres. These are then mixed with a synthetic resin binder. The resinated fibres are dried and then formed into a mattress ready for pressing. The mattress is pressed between heated polished press plates to the desired thickness. Historically, MDF was manufactured in multi-daylight presses, but most modern plants now use continuous presses, where the mat is compressed to the finished thickness between two converging steel belts. MDF has smooth sanded surfaces; it has a homogeneous construction and is typically pale straw in colour.
Since 1966 when the first MDF was produced commercially in Deposit, New York State, USA, the market for MDF has increased dramatically worldwide. MDF was first produced in Europe in 1973. Because of its availability in a wide range of thicknesses and the ability to be machined and finished to a high standard, MDF has been accepted in a wide range of applications both in construction and also furniture, where in both cases it has substituted solid timber and also other wood-based panels in particular applications.
Contributor: Geoff Rhodes FIMMM