Falah Abu and Mansur Ahmad studied the kitchens and the physical properties of the kitchens’ particleboard panels in Malaysia to see if the environment in the kitchen affects the properties of the raw materials used to make kitchen cabinets. The physical properties tested were moisture content; density and dimensional changes i.e. water absorption, thickness swelling and dimensional changes due to changes in relative humidity.
It is important to note that the medium-class to upper-class residential buildings in Malaysia are generally equipped with air-conditioners to provide thermal comfort to the occupants. Air-conditioners are fixed in the living rooms, dining, bedroom and kitchens.
In this study, the researchers collaborated with Signature Kitchen Sdn. Bhd., the average temperature and relative humidity (RH) of twenty-eight houses in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, Malaysia were recorded. Six particleboard panels, chosen randomly from the twenty-eight sites, were cut into specific dimension and exposed to the air-conditioned room environment (20°C and 65% RH) and on-site condition (31.3°C and 72% RH).
The results indicated that the moisture content of the boards was 7.73%, which was 40% lower than the maximum requirement and the density of the panel was 14%, higher than the standard requirement. Meanwhile, the dimensional changes in thickness were 81% higher than length. In length, the mean change was just 0.07 mm as compared to the thickness, 0.36 mm.
It was found that that the panels tested had passed the moisture content, density and dimensional changes specifications under the testing procedures defined by European Union (EN) standard BS EN 312:2003. Therefore it was deduced that the damages during installation was not caused by the kitchen environmental condition or the quality of the particleboard.
Falah Abu and Mansur Ahmad
Faculty of Applied Science, Universiti Teknologi MARA, UiTM Shah Alam, Malaysia