Eco- and health-friendly gypsum board substitute based on cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) as a binder

I. Hafez, M. Tajvidi
University of Maine,
United States

Keywords: Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF), gypsum-free, green buildings


Despite being a widely used building material, gypsum boards are brittle, dusty, and are mostly disposed of in landfills. The aim of this research is the development and pilot-scale production of a novel system to primarily address the issues associated with gypsum boards using renewable resources. The new system is gypsum-free, light-weight, and fire resistant; which simply comprises of wood particles and CNF as the sole binder. This research builds on the promising results obtained at the Laboratory of Renewable Nanomaterials (LRN) at University of Maine for using CNF as a binder in the production of wood-based panels. Similar to the “wet-based” production process of gypsum boards, CNF used in this system is in wet form, hence no initial drying of CNF or the wood particles is required. This research also explores the effect of the addition of FiberLeanTM (microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and mineral) on the performance of the boards. FiberLeanTM is expected to enhance the fire performance and moisture-related properties of the produced boards. The compliance of the produced boards with the international gypsum board standards will be ensured namely through ASTM C1396 and ASTM C473 standards. So far, the flexural strength of the produced boards surpassed that of commercial gypsum board at different board densities. Fire performance, another equally-important attribute, will be evaluated by cone calorimetry method to ensure that the produced boards meet the minimum requirements. In addition, nail pull resistance, humidified deflection, thickness swelling, mold growth, durability, and hardness (core, end, and edge) will be evaluated. Upon commercialization, this project is expected to expand the nanocellulose market and pave the way for further advancements in green CNF-based building materials.