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Abstract

Melamine formaldehyde-furfuryl alcohol (MFFA) copolymer was prepared and impregnated into softwood Ficus hispida in combination with crosslinking agent and montmorillonite (MMT) under vacuum condition. Different crosslinkers namely n-methylol acrylamide, (NMA), 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and 1,3-dimethylol-4,5-dihydroxyethyleneurea (DMDHEU) were used for evaluation of properties of the prepared composites. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) studies confirmed the formation of MFFA copolymer, NMA, and DMDHEU crosslinkers. X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and FTIR studies were used to characterize the nanocomposites. The incorporation of MMT decreased the crystallinity of wood composites as revealed by XRD study. Maximum interaction was found in wood samples treated with MFFA/(NMA+HEMA+DMDHEU)/MMT as shown by FTIR study. The incorporation of MMT into the wood polymer composite was revealed by transmission electron microscopy study. Thermal stability and flammability were checked by thermogravimetric analyzer and limiting oxygen index instrument. Wood treated with MFFA, blended crosslinker and MMT exhibited higher dimensional stability, lower water uptake (%), enhanced chemical resistance, and better mechanical properties (flexural, tensile, and hardness). SEM study indicated the presence of polymer and MMT in the void spaces of wood. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers