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    Author(s): Theodore Laufenberg; Andrzej Krzysik; Jerrold Winandy
    Date: 2003
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL−135. Madison, WI : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, 2003. 15 pages.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.4 MB)


    Some engineered wood fiber surfaces are uneven, tend to shift, and have low density. The goal of our research was to develop a playground surface material that cushions impact and is accessible to people with disabilities. In the initial screening phase, we evaluated a variety of in situ surface treatments and mixtures of wood particles combined with various binders. Engineered wood fiber (EWF) was prepared from three species, red maple, ponderosa pine, and one-seed juniper, which have a wide range of densities and bonding properties. In the scale-up phase, we evaluated commercially available EWF and several promising binding systems from the screening phase trials. Seventeen test configurations were formed in plywood boxes, using different levels of EWF compaction, fiber moisture content, surface layer thickness, and types of binders. Binder systems that show promise for surface stabilization and satisfactory impact behavior are polyurethane, latex, and silicone. These binders were chosen on the basis of processing ease, flexibility (elongation to failure), cost, and safety in application and use. In this report, we identify the strengths and weaknesses of the surface treatments, review the viability of the systems and the testing concepts we have developed, and identify further research needs.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Laufenberg, Theodore; Krzysik, Andrzej; Winandy, Jerrold. 2003. Improving engineered wood fiber surfaces for accessible playgrounds. Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL−135. Madison, WI : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, 2003. 15 pages.


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    Surfacing, impact, accessibility, ADA, composite, polyurethane, cushioning, engineered wood fiber, latex, silicone.

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