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Subject: Medium density fiberboard

Medium density fiberboard

From: Will Jeffers <wjeffers>
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2003
I've been following the discussion of MDF with great interest.
Having been led to believe that it was loaded with formaldehyde, I
went out to the local building supply store and bought a piece of
generic MDF, hoping to use it as a reference positive for conducting
chromotropic acid tests.  Much to my surprise, my sample failed to
elicit the strong positive that I had hoped for, and tested
comparably if not better than MDO plywood (n.b.-- I believe that MDO
uses a phenolic resin in its overlay, and not an acrylic resin as
was previously stated on the Distlist).

This is not to say that the MDF I tested was in any way inert.
While performing reasonably well in Oddy tests, it failed the
iodide-iodate test as well as an AD strip test conducted at elevated
temperature, leading me to the conclusion that it was a significant
source of volatile organic acids within display environments.

Will Jeffers
Collections Care Scientific Research Assistant
Scientific Research Laboratory
Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-5597



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