MDF panels (Medium Density Fiberboard, better known as medium) are made of medium density wood fiber. It is an easy material to work and use, especially for making small furniture.
The invention of the medium proceeds directly from hardboard (HDF), marketed in France under the name "Isorel". This process was developed by William Mason, one of Thomas Edison's assistants, as early as 1924. The wood fibers were welded by a polymer, the aminoplast.
Unlike hardboards that require wet fiber pressing, the medium is a dry process. Its production really begins in the 1970s in the United Statesbut it is necessary to wait fifteen years for the French factories to seize this material.
The success of MDF has been accompanied by many advances, particularly with regard to the polymeric binder and the duration of fiber compression. Used for furniture and partitions, its success is indicative of the evolution of DIY in the second half of the twentieth century.
On the other hand, the fine dust released during the cutting of the panels and especially the binder which composes them and which gives off formaldehyde proves to be potentially dangerous. The evolution of the product tends to reduce this binder and the research aims at its substitution by other solutions without health impact.