A friend of mine is interviewing for a chemist position at a glue factory. As part of the interview, she has been asked to prepare a short presentation on the difference of "matrix gluing vs surface gluing" (translated from German "Matrixverleimung", I don't know if it's the correct jargon in English).

We have found many explanations of "surface gluing", where you join flat pieces of wood together. However, we cannot find definitions of "matrix gluing" anywhere in the internet, nor in scientific literature.

So: What is matrix gluing?

My assumption is that it has something to do with the production of things like medium-density-fiber board (MDF) or press-board, or other types of panels made from wood splinters/fibers. However, we'd like to be certain, since a job-offer could depend on it. Links to definitions, or other search terms we should be using would be appreciated!

  • 1
    This is a new term to me but I think your assumption may be correct in that it's bonding the structure of something together rather than glueing two surfaces together. It's not just the translation from German that is a potential hurdle here, there are many specialised terms in woodworking that are purely regional. Additionally terms are coined within specific industries that nobody knows or uses outside of that industry and only within the context of that application does the term make sense — here, there are many ways to interpret 'matrix' in English, some more literal than others.
    – Graphus
    Jul 23, 2017 at 21:30
  • Thanks! Knowing that there are many regional terms helps to put it in perspective a little. The untranslated German term is "Matrixverleimung" if that helps Jul 24, 2017 at 7:21
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    a different way to look at this is from the perspective of the glue itself (since it is a glue factory after all). There are glues that work best in very thin layers between two pieces (eg, PVA wood glue), and glues that can be gap-filling and have their own real bulk or "matrix" (eg, epoxy).
    – aaron
    Jul 24, 2017 at 11:45
  • Ah, good point! I hadn't considered that perspective! Jul 24, 2017 at 16:04
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    Very late to the party, but never forget that sometimes, in an interview, they want to see if you're comfortable acknowledging that there's something you don't know or understand.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 29, 2022 at 11:22

1 Answer 1


So, after the interview, we now know for certain what interpretation they were looking for.

"Matrixverleimung"/Matrix gluing does indeed refer to structures like pressboard/MDF/etc. where the wood-fibers/chips are embedded in the glue, as opposed to connected by the glue in "surface glueing"

Any manufactured wood where the glue itself provides a non-negligable part of the bulk of the material is said to be "matrixverleimt" (matrix glued)

  • Since no-one had a competing answer after almost five years, I'm going to be egotistical, and self-accept ;-) Feel free to add answers anyone, I'll gladly move my coveted green tick to another answer! Jun 29, 2022 at 11:55

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