Virtual characterization of MDF fiber network
A virtual design method for medium density fiberboards (MDF) is proposed with the aim to optimize the fiber orientation and lay-up of MDF. The new method estimates the stiffness and strength by using microstructure models of the MDF fiber network. The virtual design is used to improve the manufacturing technology of MDF plates with multilayer oriented fiber structure. Experimental investigations of the mechanical behavior of MDF microstructure for various fiber geometries, glue content and distribution are complicated, time consuming and expensive. On the other side, virtual microstructure design allows to develop a new wood fiber based material with less experimental work. Microstructure models help to better understand the non-linear damage mechanical behavior of a wood fiber network depending on fiber geometrical parameters. Such parameters as crack distribution and fiber deformation on micro-scale level are complicated to experimentally measure, but possible to model using computer simulations. The virtual design tool requires less empirical data. The model takes into account information on average wood fiber orientation, fiber diameter, fiber length and mechanical properties of wood fiber cell wall and glue. The numerical method for strength and stiffness analysis of MDF microstructure was calibrated using standard MDF with non-oriented fibers. It turned out that this method gives precise results for MDF with oriented fibers and even with multilayer structure. The proposed virtual microstructure design tool can significantly improve and speed-up the optimization manufacturing technology of MDF and other wood fiber based composites.