European Journal of Wood and Wood Products

, Volume 77, Issue 6, pp 981–994 | Cite as

Development of plywood using geopolymer as binder: effect of silica fume on the plywood and binder characteristics

  • Masoud Bahrami
  • Ali ShalbafanEmail author
  • Johannes Welling


Geopolymers show good potential to be used as free formaldehyde-based binder to produce wood-based panels. Hence, the objective of this research was to investigate the geopolymer composition as binder on the physical and mechanical properties of multi-layered plywood. The geopolymer binder was prepared based on kaolin and metakaolin as the major aluminosilicate powder that were substituted with different contents of silica fume. The results showed that the substitution of aluminosilicate with silica fume (up to 20% based on weight) in the geopolymer mixture modified the chemistry of the geopolymerisation, and hence, improved the amorphous structures of the geopolymer binder. In summary, the substitution of aluminosilicate with silica fume (up to 20% based on weight) in the geopolymer mixture improved the geopolymer binder cohesion, reduced the binder viscosity, reduced the binder curing time, increased the binder penetration into the superficial wood cells, increased the binder shear strength, increased the bending strength of plywood, and accordingly, reduced the plywood stiffness. Notably, none of the plywood samples did delaminate even after 672 h water immersion, implying that the geopolymer binder-based products have a better stability in water compared to some organic binders (e.g., adhesives based on tannin, soya and starch), which suffer from hydrolysis after immersion in water. All in all, the geopolymer binder based on metakaolin showed promising potential to be used as formaldehyde-free binder to produce plywood.



Ali Shalbafan acknowledges the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (Grant no. 95848907) for awarding him a short-term scientific mission on 2017 at Thuenen Institute of Wood Research (Hamburg, Germany). The authors would also gratefully acknowledge the Wöllner GmbH, Ferropem and Elkam AS companies for kindly supplying the materials.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wood and Paper Science and Technology, Faculty of Natural Resources and Marine SciencesTarbiat Modares UniversityNoorIran
  2. 2.Thünen-Institute of Wood ResearchHamburgGermany

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