Abstract

Soy flour was evaluated as a partial substitute for resin in the manufacture of oriented strand board (OSB), a wood-based composite that often replaces solid lumber and plywood in structural applications in the construction industry. Since the presence of soy could alter OSB biodegradation properties, termite resistance of OSB panels made with 0, 10, and 20 percent of polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (pMDI) resin substituted with soy flour (OSB0, OSB10, and OSB20, respectively) was investigated. Single choice tests between three types of OSB and southern yellow pine (SYP) solid wood and an OSB choice test (OSB0 vs. OSB10) were evaluated. Results indicated that termites always showed a preference for SYP, with the OSB becoming less palatable when soy flour was present. Percentage weight losses for OSB0, OSB10, and OSB20 were 5.7×, 8.4×, and 8.6× less, respectively, compared with SYP. In the absence of SYP, termites did not differentiate OSB0 from OSB10, with OSB10 showing 1.5× less weight loss compared with OSB0. Visual rating data supported weight loss data, except significantly less damage was only found when the choice paired SYP with OSB made with soy (OSB10 or OSB20). Termite consumption preference for SYP was explained by differences in water absorption kinetics. SYP reached saturation (105% moisture content) within 1 week on moist sand, while moisture content of OSB composites slowly climbed to 79 percent over 4 weeks, never reaching a plateau. Lower moisture content was due to the presence of water-repellent resin and wax in the OSB.

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