Rice Board Development with Biodegradable Plastics, 2013


Project Leader

Joseph P. Greene, professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Technology, CSU Chico

Researchers at California State University, Chico are developing biobased rice boards with properties that rival traditional particleboard—without toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The composite boards were made from rice straw and a biodegradable plastic. A rice-straw chopper created rice pulp. The mixed materials were heated to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and then compressed with a shear-edge compression mold for three minutes. The rice boards were then air-cooled.

The boards were tested for mechanical and physical properties. Tensile and impact properties were comparable to plywood. The density of the rice-straw board was significantly higher than plywood. The moisture absorption of the rice board was slightly higher than plywood.

Future work will include further testing of the mechanical and physical properties of rice boards, fine-tuning the processes to manufacture them, and studies of technical, economic, and sustainability feasibility.