TEHRAN - Researchers at the Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Gorgan say they have fabricated a higher quality of oriented strand board (OSB) out of low-grade paulownia wood by incorporating nanoclay and nanosilica in the recipe.

The Iranian researchers said using nano particles also produces a lighter weight panel with "improved mechanical properties" and the ability to "block" formaldehyde emissions. The re-engineering of these panels can also help stretch Iran's highly limited domestic wood supply. Potential uses include a substitute for plywood in interior uses such as cabinets,  furniture, packaging toxes, ceilings and flooring.

Paulownia is a fast-growing shade tree native to China and the Far East that Iran began importing and planting in North Iran as a source of domestic material for wood production, according to a research paper authored by Majid Kiaei of the Department of Wood & Paper Science & Technology at Islamic Azad University in Iran. "This exotic speices has shown good adaptation to these environmental conditions."

Reports of the university's research most recently published in the July issue of the Journal of Wood Science.

Nanoclays are nanoparticles of layered mineral silicates, according to Sigma-Aldrich, a life science and high technology company. "Organically-modified nanoclays (organoclays) are an attractive class of hybrid organic-inorganic nanomaterials with potential uses in polymer nanocomposites, as rheological modifiers, gas absorbents and drug delivery carriers."

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