Laser treatment transforms MDF producing startling image of rare wood grains

March 10, 2008

Researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have devised a way of using a laser that transforms MDF giving it a surface finish that looks like some of the most expensive wood grains.

The “LaserCoat” research project in a collaborative research effort consisting of eight academic, research and commercial organisations and part-financed by the Technology Strategy Board.

University of Warwick WMG researcher Dr Ken Young said:

“MDF is a superb and highly versatile material. It’s easy to work with and cheap. It is usually made from waste material so it is much kinder to the environment than using more real wood. But normally it looks rather dull in its raw state. Until now there has been no way to liven it up other than painting it.”

“Using lasers to produce a wood grain in MDF could help bring a more natural quality into homes and businesses without the financial and environmental cost of having to use new wood.”

The technology also has great potential for commercial use as it is very hardwearing and can be used for flooring or other applications where cost is an issue but where looks are important too. It can mimic a vast range of real wood grains, it can produce logos, decoration, or even coloured and shaped decorative surfaces using a powder coating version of this new laser technology.

Mick Toner, Factory Manager of Howarth Windows & Doors sees significant benefits from the new technology for his business,

“We would love to use MDF for the glazing beads in doubling glazing but customers do not like the look of raw MDF. This LaserCoat technology will provide a grained look that will delight our customers, give us much more manufacturing flexibility and cut the cost of the raw materials four fold”

“MDF is also an ideal material for providing the thermal insulation required for modern doors. Our customers are increasing using translucent coatings on their doors which are not aesthetically pleasing on MDF panels – the LaserCoat technology cuts through this problem providing an attractive surface for MDF no matter the coating used”

Source: University of Warwick

Explore further: New recyclable MDF could help solve UK waste problem

Related Stories

New recyclable MDF could help solve UK waste problem

November 1, 2013

A new biodegradable and recyclable form of medium density fibreboard (MDF) has been created that could dramatically reduce the problem of future waste. Today (31 October), Professor Andrew Abbott is awarded the Royal Society ...

Recommended for you

Metacognition training boosts gen chem exam scores

October 20, 2017

It's a lesson in scholastic humility: You waltz into an exam, confident that you've got a good enough grip on the class material to swing an 80 percent or so, maybe a 90 if some of the questions go your way.

Scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas

October 19, 2017

River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other ...

Six degrees of separation: Why it is a small world after all

October 19, 2017

It's a small world after all - and now science has explained why. A study conducted by the University of Leicester and KU Leuven, Belgium, examined how small worlds emerge spontaneously in all kinds of networks, including ...

Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past

October 19, 2017

Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.