Particle board is a composite product. It is manufactured by mixing waste-wood products, such as sawdust, wood chips or sawmill shavings, with a synthetic resin or another type of binder.
Particle board was first manufactured in Germany during World War II in response to a lumber shortage that limited the availability of plywood. At that time, manufacturers discovered that the more uniform the wood chips used in the manufacturing process, the more attractive and stronger the particle board.
Particle board can be used to create furniture, cabinets and cupboards, shelves and toys. A cheaper alternative to solid wood furniture, particle board is more affordable but may be less durable.
Generally, particle board is fairly inexpensive to manufacture, which translates into lower cost for the consumer. In addition, particle board is readily available and can be easily decorated in different styles with laminated overlays.
Though it has many indoor uses, particle board is not appropriate for outdoor use due to the fact it can expand and become discolored when exposed to moisture. Other disadvantages of particle board include limited durability and a faux-wood appearance that lacks the texture and rich colors of solid wood.
Because it's manufactured from recycled wood products, particle board is considered an eco-friendly material but particle board resins are typically formaldehyde-based. These resins, because of their formaldehyde emissions, are not considered 100 percent eco-friendly and safe.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm
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