Overcoming the disadvantage of urea-formaldehyde treated wood
A group of Indian scientists have developed an efficient synthesis of of untainted, superior furfural urea resin (FUR) . Urea, a carbamide, is common organic chemical with versatile characteristics. It forms resins with aldehydes, most commonly formaldehyde, to produce urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins, which is used as a wood adhesive for many years, and is still the most widely used interior plywood and particleboard adhesive.
Urea is an attractive chemical for wood improvement because of its non-toxicity, cheapness and ease of use. However, formaldehyde-urea resins emit formaldehyde. Plywood interior furniture, or kitchen cupboards made from particle boards release formaldehyde, indoors! Formaldehyde is classified by the WHO as a known human carcinogen .
In order to reduce indoor formaldehyde levels, inferior glues with less formaldehyde have been used, since the 1980s, whilst research continued to find suitable alternatives.
The reaction of furfural and urea has been researched in the early 20th century. Until now, there were too many draw-backs to make it a viable process. This new synthesis, using a (natural!) zeolite catalyst, has eliminated them.
The new process claims the following:
Reduced reaction time.
Enhanced product quality.
The process is benign, environ friendly, efficient and extremely fast.
The natural zeolite catalyst can be recycled and reused, several times.
Reference: International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology (An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization), Vol. 3, Issue 5, May 2014: Indian Natural Zeolites Catalyzed Urea Furfural Green Polymerization. (For our clients: Download publication and supporting information here)
 IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 88 (2006) Formaldehyde …, WHO Press, 2006( English ).