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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2015, Article ID 383279, 14 pages
Research Article

Potential Environmental Benefits of Ultralight Particleboards with Biobased Foam Cores

1Bern University of Applied Sciences, Institute for Materials and Wood Technology, Solothurnstrasse 102, 2500 Biel-Bienne, Switzerland
2Thünen Institute of Wood Research, Leuschnerstr. 91c, 21031 Hamburg, Germany

Received 20 December 2014; Accepted 5 March 2015

Academic Editor: Nicole Stark

Copyright © 2015 Christelle Ganne-Chédeville and Stefan Diederichs. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A new generation of ultralight particleboards (ULPB) with an expanded foam core layer produced in an in-line foaming step is under development. The environmental impacts of three types of ULPB containing foam based on 100% polylactic acid (PLA), 100% expanded polystyrene, and 50% PLA/50% polymethyl methacrylate, as well as a conventional particleboard (PB), have been compared in an LCA. Two approaches were chosen for the assessment: first, the “EPD-approach” in accordance with EN 15804 for EPD of building materials and second, a holistic-approach which allows an expansion of the system boundaries in order to forecast the consequences of a broader replacement of PB with ULPB. The results show that most of the environmental impacts are related to raw materials and end-of-life stages. Both approaches show that the exchange of PB with ULPB with a foam core based on PLA leads to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, the PLA is responsible for higher ecotoxicity results in comparison to non-bio-based polymers mainly due to agricultural processes. Both approaches allowed the drafting of complementary advisories for environmental impact reduction addressed to the developers.