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What is MDF definition/concept/elaboration

In the furniture industry it is very common to use an artificial material that resembles wood. This material is MDF, whose acronyms correspond in English to medium density fiberboard and in Portuguese it can be translated as “medium density wood fiber”. MDF

It is a processed product, more specifically a type of chipboard. It is made from radiata pine wood found in countries like Argentina, Chile and Brazil. It is an especially heavy and compact agglomerate. Also, the surface of the material stands out for being very thin and flat.

Contrary to popular belief, this product does not come from the remains of woodworking workshops, as it is made from felled trees. Most companies that work with MDF defend environmental sustainability criteria. MDF

Elaboration process and main uses and advantages

To obtain this material it is necessary to extract a substance from the original wood, linin. This substance is what provides hardness and resistance to natural woods.

Once the linin is obtained, it is mixed with synthetic resins. This mixture is heated in order to transform it into rigid MDF panels. This material has numerous uses: floors, interior furniture, wall cladding, wood veneer or kitchen doors. It’s an easy material to work with as it doesn’t bend or crack and can be brushed off quite easily. For its preparation, a special glue, known as formaldehyde, is normally used, which is a toxic substance. Like any other material, it has different thicknesses and their quality varies according to the brand and the manufacturer. To achieve a perfect finish it is common to use some kind of fine sandpaper to avoid scratching . MDF

MDF has a similar quality to solid wood, but it is much more economical. It is an ideal material to be painted or varnished. Despite its advantages, it is not very water resistant and its use is not suitable in very humid places.

Basic security measures

To handle MDF, it is convenient to incorporate some conduits, especially a mask to protect yourself from dust, goggles and gloves. If this product is cut with a saw, it is necessary to protect the ears. In the case of painting furniture, it is recommended to use a carbon mask as protection.

Contains formaldehyde, a carcinogenic compound

One of the substances used in its manufacture is formaldehyde, which is classified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen. Formaldehyde works as a kind of adhesive between the layers that form a board. For this reason, it is essential to take care when finishing or sealing to try to prevent this chemical compound from being released into the air. MDF

The problem lies more precisely in direct exposure , affecting in the first place those who work with these materials. Although there has been progress in the reduction, formaldehyde is still used and it is inevitable that a certain percentage is released into the environment . One of the signs is irritation in the eyes, as well as in the nose and throat.

It is important to observe and consult about those who work with furniture because it harms the skin, so the more the interior of the furniture is protected, there will be a lower probability of exposure to the substance. MDF

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