Overcoming the disadvantage of urea-formaldehyde treated wood

Furfural and urea react in an acid catalysed medium. The aldehyde group of furfural undergoes condensation with two urea and link the two urea substrate with the release of a water molecule to form a pure white furfural-urea resin (FUR).

A group of Indian scientists have developed an efficient synthesis of of untainted, superior furfural urea resin (FUR) [1]. Urea, a carbamide, is common organic chemical with versatile characteristics. It forms resins with aldehydes, most commonly formaldehyde, to produce urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins, which is used as a wood adhesive for many years, and is still the most widely used interior plywood and particleboard adhesive.

Urea is an attractive chemical for wood improvement because of its non-toxicity, cheapness and ease of use. However, formaldehyde-urea resins emit formaldehyde. Plywood interior furniture, or kitchen cupboards made from particle boards release formaldehyde, indoors! Formaldehyde is classified by the WHO as a known human carcinogen [2].

In order to reduce indoor formaldehyde levels, inferior glues with less formaldehyde have been used, since the 1980s, whilst research continued to find suitable alternatives.

The reaction of furfural and urea has been researched in the early 20th century. Until now, there were too many draw-backs to make it a viable process. This new synthesis, using a (natural!) zeolite catalyst, has eliminated them.

The new process claims the following:

Reduced reaction time.

Enhanced product quality.

The process is benign, environ friendly, efficient and extremely fast.

The natural zeolite catalyst can be recycled and reused, several times.


[1] International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology (An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization), Vol. 3, Issue 5, May 2014: Indian Natural Zeolites Catalyzed Urea Furfural Green Polymerization. (For our clients: Download publication and supporting information here)

[2] IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 88 (2006) Formaldehyde ..., WHO Press, 2006( English ).

Also see:

Furfuryl Alcohol: Turing Softwood into Hardwood

Furfural and the Rainforest

Furfurly Alcohol

New Green Materials

Since 2001, DalinYebo provides knowhow:

To convert biomass to value added chemical products and applications that are used in industries such as steel, wood, pharmaceutical, automotive, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, etc.

For the agri (biomass) processing, sugar, pulp&paper, etc. industries, we provide knowhow and technology to convert (residual) biomass to chemicals and energy.

For owners of biomass we offer technology and market access, creating investment opportunities in the cleantech space.

The essential technical challenge facing us, and the world in general, is the complete beneficiation of cellulosic material. We strive to provide viable and practical solution. Contact us to discuss the economic potential of your biomass.
  • Furfural
  • Resins
  • Wood


Back to top