Dilpreet Bajwa, NDSU Department of Mechanical Engineering
Sreekala Bajwa, NDSU Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

In recent years, corn has been widely used to produce ethanol. Roughly for every 25.4 kg of corn processed, 8.16 kg of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) and 11 liters of ethanol are produced. The amount of DDGS produced is steadily increasing since 1990 with 35 million metric tonnes produced in 2012. In this project DDGS has been investigated for its use as a functional filler in low density wood particle boards bonded with 10 wt. % Melamine Urea Formaldehyde and 10 wt. % AW-50 paraffin wax emulsion for water resilience. Both the concentration of the DDGS filler – 5, 10, and 15 wt. % – and the particle size of the filler – 125, 300, and 500 μm – has been considered in this experiment.

It was presumed that the additional protein and fats in the lignocellulosic DDGS would increase the mechanical strength and the water resistance of the particle boards. Chemical analysis, thermo-gravimetric analysis, and differential scanning calorimetry, transform infrared spectroscopy, and 13C NMR were used to analyze the DDGS filler. The analysis showed that the chemical composition of DDGS was not altered by micronization. A variety of mechanical tests were performed following ASTM D1037 including flexural, internal bond, screw withdrawal, and water absorption. The results show that at concentrations of 5 wt. % DDGS with particles of 500 μm produced superior properties compared to the control panel from the water absorption, flexural, and internal bond tests. The screw withdrawal test produced equivalent properties to the control. This work demonstrates that DDGS can be used as multi-functional filler in particleboards. Additional work is being conducted to evaluate how much resin and wax usage can be reduced with DDGS without compromising physico-mechanical properties of the particle boards.