November 8-12, 2015
Increasingly our society seeks an economy based on renewable resources (bio-based economy) with the goal of providing materials of high value and from renewable resources. One popular renewable resource is cellulose, or forest products in general. In this study, cellulose derivatives will be combined together with bio-plastics to produce granules of thermoplastic nano-biocomposites by melt processing. The intention is to get bio-based materials with highly advanced properties that can be shaped into complex geometries using widely used industrial melt-processes such as extrusion or injection molding.
The challenges in this study deal with production technologies for the realization of nanocomposites for large-scale industrial use. In a biobased society, it is important to better utilize the intrinsic potential of wood cellulose, beyond paper and board products. Although nanocellulose is a large research area, and many companies have pilot-scale production units, there are no commercial biocomposites based on nanocellulose. One reason is the challenges associated with the mixing of thermoplastics with nanoparticles. Here, the hypothesis is that pulp fibers can be chemically pretreated and then disintegrated in the mixing extruder, so that a high-performance biocomposite with well-dispersed nanofibers is obtained. If this works, it may inspire the development of a new generation of thermoplastic biocomposites, where the forest industry could have a competetive advantage. These biocomposites may have superior properties to regular biocomposites in terms of mechanical performance, including toughness. Therefore, the value chain of the project comprises pulping companies, for chemical modification of pulp, compounding technologies and polymer compound development, and the end user using the material in different final applications.
In this study, chemical pulp of high cellulose content is being used as reinforcing material of selected biomatrices. Parameters such as the level of microfibrillation of wood fibers, different compounding strategies, as well as interface compatibility and anisotropy effects are studied.
The combination of research and technology challenges provide interesting aspects to both academia and industrial sectors.
Fabiola Vilaseca, "Biopolymer composites from high-cellulose pulps and/or nanocellulose" in "Composites at Lake Louise (CALL 2015)", Dr. Jim Smay, Oklahoma State University, USA Eds, ECI Symposium Series, (2016). http://dc.engconfintl.org/composites_all/105