Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wood to replace oil in building polymers

12.06.2003


A new type of polymers can be produced in a more environmentally friendly way, using wood instead of oil as a raw material, according to research at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. The next step is to replace the wood with the process water from the pulp industry. This means a solution to an environmental problem and access to a cheap renewable raw material.



The substances in question, hemicellulose-based hydrogels, are a good example of how oil can be replaced by other raw materials in the production of polymers, an ever more important step in efforts to create a sustainable society. The new possibilities of producing hydrogels and other polymers from wood and process water from the pulp industry have whetted the interest of the forestry industry in pursuing this research further, according to Margaretha Söderqvist Lindblad, who has presented a doctoral dissertation based on this research. Since hemicellulose is soluble both in water and certain mild organic solvents, production can furthermore be more environmentally friendly than parts of the corresponding processes using oil as raw material.

“Older techniques for isolating hemicellulose yield water-insoluble hemicellulose, which is considerably more difficult to alter chemically. So on top of the fact that the raw material is to be preferred in our endeavor to create a sustainable society, the ensuing reactions are also easy on the environment,” says Margareth Söderqvist Lindblad. This is entirely in line with the efforts to find environmentally adapted solutions that permeate all research at the new interdisciplinary Department of Fiber and Polymer Technology at KTH. Professor Ann-Christine Albertsson, who directed the dissertation, began work on developing polymers from renewable raw materials as early as the mid 1980s.


The chemical structure of hemicellulose also opens great potential for developing hydrogels with varying characteristics. One application is in systems for releasing drugs and fertilizing substances. The explanation lies in the structure of the hydrogels. Their atoms are arranged in a network structure, which means that they swell in water without dissolving. One effect will be that substances placed inside the network structure will remain there and can be more evenly distributed in water solutions.

“In systems for drug release the active substance can be placed inside the network structure and thereby be more evenly distributed over time. On a larger scale the same principle can be used in agriculture to distribute fertilizer substances more evenly and thereby decrease the risk of eutrophication of our waters,” says Margaretha Söderqvist Lindblad. The research behind the dissertation has also dealt with how renewable resources can be utilized in building polymers by fermenting agricultural products like rapeseed oil and starch monomers (building blocks) for other polymers.

Magnus Myrén | alfa
Further information:
http://www.kth.se

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material
21.11.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Quantum dots amplify light with electrical pumping
21.11.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>