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Wood Chemistry Reinvents Polymers for a Greener Future

Pascal Xanthopoulos – May 28, 2018

Wood Chemistry Reinvents Polymers for a Greener FutureBioplastics account for ca. 1% of the 320 million tons of plastic globally produced each year. Though bioplastics are still considered to be a niche, their global production is expected to grow by 20% over the next five years. Global bioplastics production capacity is set to increase from ca. 2 million tons in 2017 to ca. 2.5 million tons in 2022.

Environmentally friendly materials have become more widely used as consumers became aware of the consequences associated with the use of petrochemical-derived products. By using renewable resources, the industry reduces the use of fossil resources and the amount of carbon dioxide that is present in the atmosphere.

The development of novel biomaterials derived from wood biomass and produced with a reduced carbon footprint contributes to this sustainable approach. These materials improve resource management and the overall performance and efficiency of our environment. Wood chemistry can contribute to reinvent plastics for a greener future.

Let's take a look at the wood-biomass derived materials...

Biopolymers derived from Wood Extractives


Tannins-based Foams


Tannin-based Rigid Foams
Tannins
are present in many plants and trees such as:

 − Oak
 − Pine
 − Chestnut
 − Quebracho, and
 − Many others

Tannins are polymers consisting mainly of glycosides, belonging to the polyphenol family, and are able to precipitate proteins. Historically, tannins, both hydrolyzable and condensed, have been associated with the preservation of hides for leather.

In addition to the tanning industry, tannins can also be efficiently used in the oenological sector as clarifying agents for the production of wine and beer. Tannins are also used in:

 − Cosmetics and the pharmaceutical industry for their antioxidant and anticancer properties
 − Textile industry as efficient natural dyes, and
 − Animal nutrition to integrate naturally into animal diets

There are promising new developments ongoing to synthesize Tannin-based rigid foams which confer outstanding thermal insulating properties.

 − Tannin-based rigid foams are 95% of natural origin obtained by polycondensations of polyflavonoid tannins and furfuryl alcohol.
 − Their thermal insulation capacity is comparable to that of totally synthetic, oil-derived foams, such as polyurethanes, but with the advantage that they do not burn.
 − Tannin-based rigid foams can be proposed as insulation material, heavy metal adsorbent, floral foam or shock absorber.


Tannins-based Adhesives


There is also a growing demand for increasing the use of naturally derived materials in many of today’s products within the wood products industries. One area suited to this is the development of natural tannin adhesive in composite manufacture.

A considerable benefit of tannin adhesive is the much higher moisture content of the wood chips which can be tolerated with these adhesives than with any of the synthetic phenolic and amino resin adhesives. Interior and water resistant-type adhesives presenting no formaldehyde emission can be obtained either by special hardeners or by tannin auto-condensation without any hardener.

Tannin-based Adhesives


 » Continue reading to explore some more biopolymers derived from wood-biomass for a greener future! 


1 Comments on "Wood Chemistry Reinvents Polymers for a Greener Future"
mahesh s Jul 11, 2018
Have developed a methodology and seeking partners at Purdue to develop to a larger reactor as adhesives using regular Urea and or mixed with lignin a phenolate in our process with 2.5 more groups and or lignin "phenolate" with little crosslinkers in all and non formaldehyde and bio to any percentile you desire and cost effective! Our process can take wood chips back at low Kappa number as almost a solid state or be taken to "bleach" directly. A big change not disruptive. Please email Dec-Lam@att.net

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