Maize Cob Board (MCB) - Light weight material from agricultural by-products

Maize cobs accrue as an agricultural by-product can be used for a core material of light weight panels with good material properties and insulation characteristics. The aim was to work out a concept for the production and optimisation of material properties.

Short Description




Basic idea of the project is the development of a new light weight board using maize cobs as the inner layer of a sandwich structure. A pre-study and a literature research proved that the maize cobs show high mechanical stability and on the other hand the cobs are characterized by proper insulation values. Therefore, the new light weight sandwich panel can be used for a core layer of door panels.

The aim of the first part of the project was to develop a production process in a laboratory scale. In a second step light weight materials were produced and mechanical and structuralphysical testing of the light weight materials was performed. Additionally door leafs with a core layer consisting of maize cobs were produced. These door leafs were tested corresponding to Austrian and European Standards, proofing high potential of the material for the door panel production. On the other hand the material can be used for furniture and other indoor applications e.g. table boards, interior walls, bookshelves, work plates, etc.

A research was performed to collect data of the availability of maize cobs in Austria. A StartUp company can be sufficiently supplied with high quality maize cobs from seed production. Using this resources approx. 15.000 m³ of the new light weight material can be produces. For further production capacities maize cobs form neighbouring countries have to be used. Additionally an independent agricultural project is running in Styria aiming to improve the use of maize cobs (energy production but also material use). Due to these efforts a sufficient supply of maize cobs can be assumed for the future.

The maize cob panel production in a laboratory scale showed valuable hints for an industrial production process. However, upscaling of the production process can not be derived from the labour machinery developed. Therefore, the results of the project do not allow an exact cost calculation of an industrial production line. To develop an industrial production line a Start-Up company was founded. In cooperation with the company partner this Start-Up company will continue to develop an industrial production process. For this a follow-up project was defined and submitted to the tecnet call 2009 "ecological efficient products and production processes" (announcement of ecoplus - Lower Austria). The submission was nominated as the winner of the tecnet call and will be funded by ecoplus and the government of Lower Austria.

Project Partners

Project management

Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH (Wood K plus)
Privatdozent Dr. Ulrich Müller


Project or cooperation partner

Contact Address

DI Dr. Ulrich Müller
Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH
Bereich Massivholz und Holzverbundwerkstoffe
An der Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Institut für Holzforschung
Peter Jordan Straße 82
A-1190 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 47654-4252