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Title: Improving indoor air quality (IAQ) through novel wood-based panel modifications
Author: Stefanowski, Bronia Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 1886
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2018
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Indoor air quality and the effects of airborne contamination on human health, have been of growing concern in recent years (Mitchell et al., 2007; Salthammer et al., 2003; Takeda et al., 2009). Following long exposure to pollution, individuals suffer from eye and respiratory discomfort, headaches and a feeling of lethargy linked to poor indoor air quality (Haghighat and De Bellis, 1998). Previously research has focused on primary particles, outdoor pollution penetrating inside buildings (WHO, 2010) and chemicals (Mitchell et al., 2007). More recently, research has begun to involve the relationship between a building's environment, its occupants' activities, the different sources of pollutants and means of mitigation. This study was conducted to investigate the potential of improving IAQ by modifying Medium Density Fibre board (MDF) to become a multi-functional product that will actively absorb indoor air pollutants. The first aim was to determine if changing the refiner pressure of woodchip during MDF panel production would affect the atmospheric formaldehyde absorption capabilities of the MDF panel. The second was to determine if adding a scavenger of pollutants (physical modification) to the MDF panel structure would actively absorb formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the atmosphere. Following on from this, modified MDF panels were produced on a pilot scale. These modified MDF panels underwent a series of rigorous tests to determine if the scavengers remain active to absorb formaldehyde and VOCs from the atmosphere, post production and the impacts on panel properties. The results revealed firstly that the modified MDF panels could absorb formaldehyde and secondly that the scavengers added to the panel, remained active and could absorb both formaldehyde and other tested VOC's. However, there were some implications to panel properties, namely mechanical. An additional part of this thesis was the study of how the modifications affect the panels' susceptibility to fungal attack by both mould fungi and basidiomycete decay. The modified MDF panels were also exposed to VOCs to determine any relationship between the absorption of VOCs and on mould colonisation. The modifications were found to alter the dynamics of microbial growth and cultivation, as well as alter susceptibility differently with each of the modifications.
Supervisor: Ormondroyd, Graham ; Curling, Simon Sponsor: ECO-SEE
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available