Our peer-reviewed sister journal
BioResources, Volume 7, Issue 4
NOTE: Each current issue of BioResources continues to build as new articles are approved.
The advances in manufactured fibers and textiles have garnered interest and excitement of textile artists and consumers alike for a myriad of reasons, including health, environmental, and fashion. The chemical and molecular nature of these advances, however leads to confusion and misunderstanding of the new fibers in the materials. This is exacerbated by the current climate of distrust for chemical words and desire for "green" products and the unregulated (mis)information and marketing on the web. Textile artists, consumers, and the clothing and household textile industry need clear names and labels to identify the materials they are using. PDF
Although transport fuels are currently obtained mainly from petroleum, alternative fuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass (LB) have drawn much attention in recent years in light of the limited reserves of crude oil and the associated environmental issues. Lignocellulosic ethanol (LE) and lignocellulosic hydrocarbons (LH) are two typical representatives of the LB-derived transport fuels. This editorial systematically compares LE and LB from production to their application in transport fuels. It can be demonstrated that LH has many advantages over LE relative to such uses. However, most recent studies on the production of the LB-derived transport fuels have focused on LE production. Hence, it is strongly recommended that more research should be aimed at developing an efficient and economically viable process for industrial LH production. PDF
Superhydrophobic materials have a lot of interesting potential applications. The self-cleaning property is a unique feature. Rendering the water-loving cellulosic paper superhydrophobic can open the door for value-added applications. Superhydrophobic paper is a fairly new area, and only very limited scientific publications are available in the literature. Among these publications, the topics on the use of mineral pigments in fabrication of superhydrophobic structures account for a large proportion. During the fabrication process, mineral pigments, e.g., silica, precipitated calcium carbonate, and clay, generally need to be hydrophobized, either directly or indirectly. Mineral pigments can be applied to cellulosic paper by surface treatment or wet-end filling, and good dispersabilities of these pigments are always highly demanded. A key mechanistic point is that by tunable particle packing or fabrication, mineral pigments may exhibit surface-roughening effects, which are critical for superhydrophobicity development. The roughening of a hydrophobic surface helps to enhance hydrophobicity. Possible concepts such as nano-structuring or controllable surface patterning of mineral pigments may help to improve superhydrophobicity. Environmental friendliness will also guide the scientific/technical development in this area. PDF
A new book by Radkau, Wood. A History, provides telling insight into the cleverness and also into the short-sightedness of humans in their almost uninterrupted dependence on forest resources. This essay touches upon the earliest evidence of prehistoric wood-based technologies – showing examples where humans have tended, in many generations, to exhaust their readily available resources. Beginning in the Industrial Revolution a greatly expanded usage of first coal and the petroleum have tended to take some of the pressure off of the use of wood as a fuel source. But there are early signs that the situation may be changing soon. Large wood-to-liquid-fuel facilities are being talked about. Though the usage of wood for fuel has the potential to be a sustainable enterprise, human history suggests we should exercise caution. PDF
Westerberg, N., Sunner, H., Helander, M., Henriksson, G., Lawoko, M., and Rasmuson, A. (2012). "Separation of galactoglucomannans, lignin, and lignin-carbohydrate complexes from hot-water-extracted Norway spruce by cross-flow filtration and adsorption chromatography," BioRes. 7(4), 4501-4516.
A simple method to simultaneously recover polymeric carbohydrates, mainly galactoglucomannans (GGM), lignin, and lignin-carbohydrate complex (LCC) from hot-water-extracted Norway spruce wood is presented. The isolation method consists of cross-flow filtration, where high and low molecular mass species are removed, followed by fixed-bed adsorption on a hydrophobic polymeric resin (XAD-16) to remove lignins and lignans. In the second step of fixed-bed adsorption, a phenylic reversed-phase analytical chromatography column, where mass transport resistance is minimized and a very high selectivity towards aromatic compounds have been observed, was used to separate LCC from GGM. The isolated LCC fraction contained about 10% aromatics, whereas the upgraded GGM fraction contained about 1.5% aromatics and the lignin fraction contained about 56% aromatics. Polymeric xylan was accumulated in the GGM fraction, while mannose was the dominant sugar found in the LCC fraction. As products, approximately 7% was recovered in the lignin fraction in the first adsorptive step, 5% was recovered as LCC, and 88% as upgraded hemicelluloses. PDF
Fermentation conditions for 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD) production by Klebsiella pneumoniae CGMCC1.9131 were optimized statistically in shake flasks. Four significant factors including the initial concentrations of yeast extract, glucose, K2HPO4, and (NH4)2SO4 were optimized by Response Surface Methodology (RSM). To further improve the yield of 2,3-BD, EDTA Na2 was added to the medium. After optimization, the yield of 2,3-BD was 0.44 g/g glucose and the final concentration was 26.20 g/L when initial glucose concentration was 60 g/L. The enzymatic hydrolyzate of pretreated sugarcane bagasse by alkali-peracetic acid (PAA) and dilute acid were further used as feedstock to produce 2,3-BD under the optimized conditions, and the yields of 2,3-BD were 0.36 and 0.43 g/g consumed sugars, respectively. The experimental results indicated that the enzymatic hydrolyzate could be well converted to 2,3-BD. PDF
Furans are high value-added biomass-derived chemicals that can be used to replace petrochemicals. In this study, sulfated solid acid catalysts were prepared by precipitation and impregnation and were used for the conversion of a cellulosic pulp sheet into furans. The physicochemical properties of the prepared sulfated solid acid with different calcination temperatures and different mol ratios of Ti-Al were characterized using XRD, elemental analysis, TG, and NH3-TPD. Furthermore, the effects of various processing parameters such as temperature, time, and catalyst dosage on the reaction performance were studied. The combined yield of 5-hydroxymethyl-furfural and furfural reached 8.9% and 4.5% of pulp sheet mass with a 5% dosage of SO42-/TiO2-Al2O3 catalyst at 220 °C for 30 min. The activity for recovered catalyst was also investigated in this study. PDF
Ab. Wahab, N. H., Md. Tahir, P., Beng Hoong, Y., Ashaari, Z., Mohd Yunus, N. Y., Uyup, M. K. A., and Shahri, M. H. (2012). "Adhesion characteristics of phenol formaldehyde pre-preg oil palm stem veneers," BioRes. 7(4), 4545-4562.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the adhesion properties of phenol formaldehyde-prepreg oil palm veneers that have potential for plywood manufacture. Phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin of three different molecular weights (i.e. 600 (low), 2,000 (medium), and 5,000 (commercial)) were used to pre-treat the veneers. The veneers were soaked in each type of PF resin for 20 seconds, pressed between two rollers, and pre-cured in an oven maintained at 103 ± 2 °C for 24 hours. The volume percent gain (VPG), weight percent gain (WPG), pH, buffering capacity, and contact angle of the phenolic pre-preg veneers were determined. The bonding shear was also evaluated according to British Standard European Norm BS EN 314. The results show that veneers from both inner and outer layers treated with low molecular weight PF (LMwPF) resin had significantly higher VPG and WPG compared to the other PF resins. The pH values of all of the veneers were slightly acidic (6.5 to 6.8) except for those that were treated with commercial molecular weight PF resin (7.8). A buffering capacity study revealed that untreated veneer had a greater resistance toward alkali, but was unstable under acidic conditions, while the phenolic pre-preg veneer behaved differently. This effect was more prominent as the molecular weight of the PF resin increased. An examination of the veneer surfaces demonstrated that phenolic treatment had increased the contact angle of the OPS veneer surfaces significantly. The bonding properties of plywood made from pre-preg palm veneers were found to be superior to those of commercial palm plywood. PDF
Huang, R., Zhang, Y., Xu, X., Zhou, D., and Wu, Q. (2012). "Effect of hybrid mineral and bamboo fillers on thermal expansion behavior of bamboo fiber and recycled polypropylene-polyethylene composites," BioRes. 7(4), 4563-4574.
The effect of bamboo and hybrid bamboo-precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) fillers on thermal expansion behavior of filled plastic composites was investigated. The linear coefficient of thermal expansion (LCTE) of the filled composites decreased with increased PCC and bamboo filler loading levels. The composite system with refined bamboo fibers (RBFs) had smaller LCTE values compared with those from the systems with ground bamboo particles (GBPs). The use of silane treatment on bamboo fiber/particle surface helped enhance its bonding to the plastic matrix, leading to a further reduction of LCTE values for both GBP and RBF composite systems. The observed behavior of reduced LCTE is attributed to a small filler LCTE value, reduced overall plastic volume, and enhanced interfacial bonding with treated bamboo materials. Thus, hybrid bamboo and PCC fillers are suitable materials for reducing the thermal expansion of the composites caused by temperature changes. PDF
Segerholm, B. K., Ibach, R. E., and Westin, M. (2012). "Moisture sorption, biological durability, and mechanical performance of WPC containing modified wood and polylactates," BioRes. 7(4), 4575-4585.
Biological durability is an important feature for wood-plastic composites (WPC) intended for outdoor applications. One route to achieving WPC products with increased biological durability is to use wood preservative agents in the formulation of the WPC. Another option could be to use a chemically modified wood component that already exhibits increased resistance to biological degradation. There is also a need to use biobased thermoplastics made from renewable resources, which would decrease the dependency on petrochemically-produced thermoplastics in the future. The objective of this study was to examine moisture sorption properties, biological durability, and mechanical performance of injection-molded WPC samples based on acetylated or thermally modified wood components and a polylactate matrix. The biological durability was evaluated in a terrestrial microcosm (TMC) test according to ENV 807, followed by mechanical evaluation in a center point bending test. The moisture sorption properties were investigated via both water soaking and exposure in a high-humidity climate. Low or negligible mass losses were observed in the TMC test for all WPC samples. However, the mechanical evaluation after exposure in the TMC test showed 35-40% losses in both strength and stiffness for the WPC containing an unmodified wood component. PDF
López, J. P., El Mansouri, N.-E., Alba, J., del Rey, R., Mutjé, P., and Vilaseca, F. (2012). "Acoustic properties of polypropylene composites reinforced with stone groundwood," BioRes. 7(4), 4586-4599.
Currently, acoustic isolation is one of the problems raised with building construction in Spain. The publication of the Basic Document for the protection against noise of the Technical Building Code has increased the demand of comfort for citizens. This has created the need to seek new composite materials that meet the new required acoustical building codes. In this paper we report the results of the newly developed composites that are able to improve the acoustic isolation of airborne noise. These composites were prepared from polypropylene (PP) reinforced with mechanical pulp fibers from softwood (Pinus radiata). Mechanical and acoustical properties of the composites from mechanical pulp (MP) and polypropylene (PP) have been investigated and compared to fiberglass (FG) composites. MP composites had lower tensile properties compared with FG composites, although these properties can be improved by incorporation of a coupling agent. The results of acoustical properties of MP composites were reported and compared with the conventional composites based on fiberglass and gypsum plasterboards. Finally, we suggest the application of MP composites as a light-weight building material to reduce acoustic transmitions. PDF
In China each year, large amounts of wood-based panels are consumed and abandoned. These are huge resources for energy recovery and materials reuse. In order to study the influence of urea formaldehyde resin (UF) resin on waste wood-based panels during pyrolysis, thermobalance experiments together with the evolution of main gaseous products of wood, wood-based panels, and UF resins were carried out and analyzed by TG-FTIR. Elementary and GC-MS analyses were also done to study the characteristics of solid and liquid products. Results from TG and DTG analyses indicated that UF resin used in wood-based panels accelerated the degradation rate of wood-based panels at lower temperature; however the resin inhibited the degradation of wood-based panels over the later stage at higher temperatures. Compared with solid wood, the higher intensity and earlier releasing time of HNCO and NH3 in wood board revealed that the release of nitric gases is mainly due to the presence of UF resin, especially between 180 °C and 320 °C. Mass loss of hydrogen is significantly inhibited by UF resin, and nitrogen is quite stable in the char. The influence of UF resin on pyrolysis liquids of wood-based panels is mainly on nitrogen compounds and ketones rather than aldehydes and esters, which is probably due to the chemical reactions of UF resin with lignin constituent in wood. PDF
Wang, X., Xu, Y., Fan, L., Yong, Q., and Yu, S. (2012). "Simultaneous separation and quantitative determination of monosaccharides, uronic acids, and aldonic acids by high performance anion-exchange chromatography coupled with pulsed amperometric detection in corn stover prehydrolysates," BioRes. 7(4), 4614-4625.
A method for simultaneous separation and quantitative determination of arabinose, galactose, glucose, xylose, xylonic acid, gluconic acid, galacturonic acid, and glucuronic acid was developed by using high performance anion-exchange chromatography coupled with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD). The separation was performed on a CarboPacTM PA-10 column (250 mm × 2 mm) with a various gradient elution of NaOH-NaOAc solution as the mobile phase. The calibration curves showed good linearity (R2 ≥ 0.9993) for the monosaccharides, uronic acids, and aldonic acids in the range of 0.1 to 12.5 mg/L. The detection limits (LODs) and the quantification limits (LOQs) were 4.91 to 18.75 μg/L and 16.36 to 62.50 μg/L, respectively. Relative standard deviations (RSDs) of the retention times and peak areas for the seven consecutive determinations of an unknown amount of mixture were 0.15% to 0.44% and 0.22% to 2.31%, respectively. The established method was used to separate and determine four monosaccharides, two uronic acids, and two aldonic acids in the prehydrolysate from dilute acid steam-exploded corn stover within 21 min. The spiked recoveries of monosaccharides, uronic acids, and aldonic acids ranged from 91.25% to 108.81%, with RSDs (n=3) of 0.04% ~ 6.07%. This method was applied to evaluate the quantitative variation of sugar and sugar acid content in biomass prehydrolysates. PDF
Bian, J., Peng, F., Peng, X.-P., Peng, P., Xu, F., and Sun, R.-C. (2012). "Acetic acid enhanced purification of crude cellulose from sugarcane bagasse: Structural and morphological characterization," BioRes. 7(4), 4626-4639.
Crude cellulose prepared from alkali-extracted sugarcane bagasse was subjected to a rapid purification treatment with a mixture of 80% acetic acid-68% nitric acid (10/1, v/v) at 120 °C for 15 min. The yields of the preparations decreased slightly from 57.3%-58.6% in the crude cellulose preparations to 50.3%-51.9% in the purified cellulose samples. The purification treatment removed large amounts of resistant hemicelluloses strongly associated to the cellulose. XRD analysis revealed that the structure of both the crude and purified cellulose was cellulose I. Compared to the crude cellulose, a slight increase in the crystallinity index of the purified cellulose was observed by FTIR, XRD, and CP/MAS 13C NMR analyses. In addition, SEM showed that the macrofibril surface of the crude cellulose was almost free of trenches, but many terraces, steps, and kinks formed in the preparations after the purification. PDF
The effects of partial replacement of rattan powder (RP) by carbon black (CB), mica, and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) on the curing characteristics, tensile properties, rubber-filler interaction, and morphological studies of natural rubber (NR) composites were investigated. Rattan powder with an average particle size of less than 180 µm was used in this study. NR/RP/CB, NR/RP/mica, and NR/RP/CaCO3 composites with five different RP/commercial fillers loadings (i.e. 30/0, 20/10, 15/15, 10/20, 0/30 phr) were prepared using a laboratory size two-roll mill. Results showed that the maximum torque (MH) of the NR/RP/CB, NR/RP/mica, and NR/RP/CaCO3 composites increased with increasing the commercial filler-loading ratio. The scorch time (ts2) and cure time (t90) of NR/RP/CB composites decreased as the ratio of CB loading was increased, whereas, ts2 and t90 of NR/RP/mica and NR/RP/CaCO3 composites increased as mica and CaCO3 loading ratio were raised, respectively. The tensile strength, elongation at break (Eb), stress at 100% elongation (M100), and stress at 300% elongation (M300) of all the composites increased as the commercial filler-loading ratio increased. This is due to the presence of the commercial filler, which brought a better rubber-filler interaction, as confirmed by the rubber-filler interaction and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) studies. PDF
The durability of thermally modified (TM) and untreated (UT) mini-stakes exposed to in-ground contact was compared by modulus of elasticity (MOE) and mass loss with decay type using microscopy. Results showed a strong correlation between MOE and soft rot decay for UT stakes over a 30 month exposure period. For TM stakes, the correlation between MOE and decay rate (soft rot/bacteria) was not as strong. Loss of MOE of the TM stakes is suggested to be accentuated by the extensive micro-checking produced in the TM wood tracheids during the original heat treatment. The micro-checks are thought to expand during the winter season due to water expansion during freezing, thereby leading to weakening of the wood in addition to the decay caused by soft rot and bacteria. Using molecular methods, Phialophora hoffmannii was identified as the main fungus causing soft rot decay. PDF
The effect of biomass loading from 50 to 200 g/L on enzymatic hydrolysis was studied using switchgrass samples pretreated by dilute acid and hypochlorite-alkaline methods. It was confirmed that an increase of initial loading of the pretreated biomass leads to a decrease of enzymatic digestibility, probably due to difficulty of mass transfer of cellulolytic enzymes in the high-viscous substrate slurry and also because of an inhibiting effect of the formed sugars. An additional sharp problem connected with enzymatic hydrolysis at the high-solids loading is absorption and retention of liquid hydrolysate by residual non-hydrolyzed biomass that causes diminution of the available volume (Va) of the sugar solution and decreases productivity of the saccharification process. To optimize the high-solids enzymatic hydrolysis, the maximal amount of the formed sugars was determined Am = Cm x Va,m , where Cm is maximal concentration of the sugar solution and Va,m is maximal available volume. Such an approach makes it possible to find the optimal conditions for the hydrolysis: optimal biomass loading and hydrolysis time. After enzymatic hydrolysis at these optimal conditions, the low-lignified biomass pretreated by hypochlorite-alkaline method displayed much more available volume of sugar solution and higher digestibility characteristics than the cellolignin obtained by acidic pretreatment of the initial biomass sample. PDF
Sen, S. K., Baheti, V. K., Venditti, R. A., Pawlak, J. J., Park, S., and Bansal, M. C. (2012). "Cellulose microfibril-water interaction as characterized by isothermal thermogravimetric analysis and scanning electron microscopy," BioRes. 7(4), 4683-4703.
Microfibrillated celluloses, liberated from macroscopic lignocellulosic fibers by mechanical means, are sub-fiber elements with lengths in the micron scale and diameters ranging from 10 to a few hundred nanometers. These materials have shown strong water interactions. This article describes an investigation and quantification of the ‘hard-to-remove (HR) water content’ in cellulose fibers and microfibrillated structures prepared from fully bleached softwood pulp (BSW). The fiber/fibril structure was altered by using an extended beating process (up to 300 minutes), and water interactions were determined with isothermal thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Isothermal TGA is shown to be a convenient and insightful characterization method for fiber-water interactions for fibers and microfibrils at small sample size. In addition, scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images depict the differences between fibers and microfibrils with respect to beating time in the dried consolidated structures. Highly refined pulps with microfibrils were determined to have two critical drying points, i.e., two minima in the second derivative of weight versus time, not before reported in the literature. Also in this study, hard-to-remove (HR) water content is related to the area above the first derivative curve in the constant rate and falling rate drying zones. This measure of HR water correlates with a previous measurement method of HR water but is less ambiguous for materials that lack a constant drying rate zone. Blends of unbeaten fibers and microfibril containing samples were prepared and show potential as composite materials. PDF
Densiﬁcation of biomass feedstocks, such as pelletizing, can increase bulk density, improve storability, reduce transportation costs, and ease the handling of biomass using existing handling and storage equipment for grains. In order to study the pelletizing process, compost pellets were produced under controlled conditions. The aim of the work was to investigate the effect of raw material properties and the die geometry on the true density of formed pellets and also find the optimal conditions of the densification process for producing pellets with high density. Compost was extruded into cylindrical pellets utilizing open-end dies under axial stress from a vertical piston applied by a hydraulic press. The effects of independent variables, including the raw material moisture content (35 to 45% (wet basis)), hammer mill screen size (0.3 to 1.5 mm), speed of piston (2 to 10 mm/s), and die length (8 to 12 mm) on pellet density, were determined using response surface methodology. A quadratic model was proposed to predict the pellet density, which had high F and R2 values along with a low p value, indicating the predictability of the model. Moisture content, speed of piston, and particle size significantly affected (P < 0.01) the density of pellets, while the influence of die length was negligible (P > 0.05). PDF
For many wood cutting processes, the interest of high-speed tool steels and tungsten carbides remains very important because of their good tool edge accuracy and easy grinding. The wear of high-speed steel and tungsten carbide is an important economic parameter. Wood extractives and silica have a potential adverse effect on tool wear. Rapid chemical wearing due to corrosion and mechanical wearing has been attributed to the presence of extractives and silica in wood and wood composites. This paper presents the wear characteristics of SKH51 high-speed steel and K10 tungsten carbide caused by extractive and abrasive materials present in the lesser-known Tapi-Tapi wood and wood composites of wood cement board, particleboard, MDF, and oriented strand board (OSB). Experimental results showed that wearing of the cutting tools tested was determined by extractives and silica contained in the wood and wood composites. Wood cement board, which is high in silica content, caused severe damage to the cutting edge of the high-speed steel. A corrosion/oxidation mechanism was found to contribute to the wear of SKH51 and K10 when cutting the Tapi-Tapi wood, MDF, particleboard, wood cement board, and OSB. The silica and extractives determined the abrasion and corrosion wear mechanism to a varying degree. PDF
Modulus of elasticity (MOE) in the tangential direction for Norway spruce, Picea abies (L.) H. Karst, was measured. Test samples were tested in three-point bending, and moisture content (MC) and temperature were varied between the green condition and 7% MC and between 20 °C and 80 °C, respectively. Using correction factors calculated from finite element simulations, an adjustment of measured MOE was made to the ideally tangential direction. The results show MOE and the gradients with respect to MC and temperature and how they vary with MC and temperature. The gradients are factors in gradient terms in the incremental stress-strain relation for linear elastic behaviour during load cycles where there are mechanical loads and at the same time, varying MC and temperature. The gradient terms add to the temperature and MC expansion coefficients and may be of significant size for cases with high stress, high temperature, and high MC. PDF
Six hemicellulosic samples were isolated from cell wall material of dewaxed sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) leaves by sequential extractions with distilled water, alkali, and organic alkali solvent. The samples were treated with water, 1% NaOH, and 60% ethanol. The organic alkali samples were treated with 1%, 3%, 5%, and 8% NaOH, which yielded 8.3%, 5.4%, 1.0%, 5.6%, 2.5%, and 4.9% hemicelluloses based on the dry initial sweet sorghum leaves, respectively, and resulted in a total release of 81% of all hemicelluloses originally present in the cell wall. The results indicated that water-soluble hemicelluloses contained noticeable amounts of glucose, arabinose, galactose, and xylose, and had a relatively lower molecular weight (17300 g/mol). The four alkali-soluble hemicellulosic fractions, rich in xylose, were more linear, and had higher molecular weights (48500-128000 g/mol) than those of the alkali organic-soluble hemicellulosic fraction. With an increase of NaOH concentration from 1% to 8%, the ratio of arabinose to xylose decreased from 0.29 to 0.01, which implied that the hemicelluloses obtained by the higher concentration of alkali appeared to be more linear. Based on the sugar analysis, Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) results, 4-O-methylglucuronoarabinoxylans were the major constituents of the hemicellulosic polymers. PDF
Agarose films were formed with the addition of 30 to 70 wt% choline chloride/urea eutectic-based ionic liquid (ChCl/Urea). The ChCl/Urea was prepared through complexation at a 1:2 mole ratio. The films were prepared by dissolving ChCl/Urea in distilled water followed by dispersion of the agarose at 95 °C. The solution was gelled at room temperature, and the formed gel was dried in an oven overnight at 70 °C. Mechanical testing indicated that the agarose film containing 60 wt% ChCl/Urea had higher tensile extension and tensile strain at break compared to the pristine agarose film. The addition of ChCl/Urea also reduced the glass transition temperature (Tg) of agarose films. Cross-section SEM images of the agarose films showed that surface roughness disappeared with the incorporation of ChCl/Urea. FTIR spectra confirmed the presence of intermolecular hydrogen bonding between agarose and ChCl/Urea. XRD patterns demonstrated that an amorphous phase was obtained when ChCl/Urea was added. Agarose films containing more ChCl/Urea exhibited higher transparency, as measured by a UV-Vis spectrometer. In summary, the physicochemical properties of agarose films were evidently affected by the incorporation of the ChCl/Urea as a plasticizing agent. PDF
This study investigated the effect of oxygen plasma treatment on the glass transition temperature of enzymatic hydrolysis lignin (EHL) derived from the production of bio-ethanol. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to obtain the glass transition temperature (Tg) of EHL. The results showed that the Tg value of EHL under different heating rates ranged from 160 to 200 °C, and there was a strong linear correlation between heating rate and Tg. The Tg value of oxygen plasma treated EHL decreased when compared with the untreated samples. The apparent Tg of the untreated sample was 168.2 °C, while the value of the treated sample was 161.5 °C. Distinct chain scission and introduction of oxygen-based functional groups on the surface of EHL were detected by XPS analysis. These changes may occur mainly on the bulky side chain and thus enhance molecular mobility of EHL. This indicates that oxygen plasma treatment can modify the structure and improve the reactivity of EHL efficiently. PDF
Wan Razali, W. A., Baharuddin, A. S., Talib, A. T., Sulaiman, A., Naim, M. N., Hassan, M. A., and Shirai, Y. (2012). "Degradation of oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB) fibre during composting process using in-vessel composter," BioRes. 7(4), 4786-4805.
Changes in the lignocellulosic structure of oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB) during composting treatment using an in-vessel composter was investigated in this work. The composting process was completed within 40 days of treatment, and the final C/N ratio achieved was 13.85. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that the structure of OPEFB material was severely degraded, especially during the thermophilic phase where the biodegradation process was most active. Close examination of the physicochemical and thermal analysis using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis (TG/DTA) showed that the crystallinity size of the OPEFB structure decreased. This result was attributed to the removal of silica bodies from OPEFB materials. Also, the functional groups of cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin structures had changed throughout the composting period, and the most extensive degradation of cellulose was detected in the thermophilic phase. It was also found that the exothermic peak of the matured compost reduced most significantly compared to the raw OPEFB. In conclusion, the in-vessel composting system was able to enhance the degradation process of OPEFB materials for producing compost. PDF
Jiang, Z., Chen, F., Wang, G., Liu, X., Shi, S. Q., and Cheng, H.-T. (2012). "The circumferential mechanical properties of bamboo with uniaxial and biaxial compression tests," BioRes. 7(4), 4806-4816.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of uniaxial and biaxial compression loadings on the circumferential-radial mechanical properties of bamboo. A novel biaxial testing device, called the 3D composite material analysis system, was developed to conduct biaxial compression tests. Strain field analysis was characterized with the help of the digital speckle correlation method (DSCM). The effects of four different environmental treatments (I. air-drying, II. constant temperature and relative humidity, III. relatively low temperature, and IV. ultra-low temperature) on the circumferential performance of bamboo were examined in the experiment. The results of this study indicated that the diametric strength of bamboo evaluated by biaxial load was as 2.4 to 2.5 times the uniaxial compression. Under biaxial load, the strength of the bamboo node was about 2.38 times higher than the internode. Failure first occurred at the outside surface of bamboo at about the 45° position between X and Y axial when conducting a biaxial compression test. The distribution of X-strain field expressed itself more uniformly than the Y-strain field. The diametric mechanical properties of bamboo ring were σIV>σIII>σII>σI for both the uniaixal and biaxial compression tests. PDF
Pirraglia, A., Gonzalez, R., Denig, J., Saloni, D., and Wright, J. (2012). "Assessment of the most adequate pre-treatments and woody biomass sources intended for direct co-firing in the U.S.," BioRes. 7(4), 4817-4842.
There is increasing interest in replacing coal with woody biomass in co-firing plants for electrical power. A variety of pre-treatments can be used to make biomass more suitable for co-firing. This research presents a model that evaluates the delivered costs of various pre-treated biomass sources, electricity production costs, and constraints, and calculates a least cost mix. Results of the scenario presented indicate that wood chips are the most economical co-firing option for delivering biomass to direct-fired boilers. Apart from potential feeding and processing issues, the wood-chips options of forest residues present the lowest cost of electricity production for small-scale co-firing applications. From the options that will ensure minimum processing issues in the co-firing cycle, wood pellets from southern yellow pine represent the most economical choice. Based on coal displacement from the facility, torrefied wood pellets from southern yellow pine is a preferred option as compared to other choices evaluated. An alternative to torrefied wood pellets from southern yellow pine is dark torrefied Eucalyptus benthamii, providing similar electricity production costs while reducing coal utilization. PDF
Şen, A., Olivella, M. À., Fiol, N., Miranda, I., Villaescusa, I., and Pereira, H. (2012). "Removal of chromium (VI) in aqueous environments using cork and heat-treated cork samples from Quercus cerris and Quercus suber," BioRes. 7(4), 4843-4857.
Chromium (VI) removal and its reduction to chromium (III) from aqueous solution by untreated and heat-treated Quercus cerris and heat-treated Quercus suber black agglomerate cork granules was investigated. Initial screening studies revealed that among the sorbents tested, untreated Q. cerris and Q. suber black agglomerate are the most efficient in the removal of Cr(VI) ions and were selected for adsorption essays. Heat treatment adversely affected chromium adsorption and chromium (VI) reduction in Q. cerris cork. The highest metal uptake was found at pH 3.0 for Q. cerris and pH 2.0 for black agglomerate. The experimental data fitted the Langmuir model and the calculated qmax was 22.98 mg/g in black agglomerate and 21.69 mg/g in untreated Q. cerris cork. The FTIR results indicated that while in black agglomerate, lignin is the sole component responsible for Cr(VI) sorption, and in untreated Q. cerris cork, suberin and polysaccharides also play a significant role on the sorption. The SEM-EDX results imply that chromium has a homogenous distribution within both cork granules. Also, phloemic residues in Q. cerris granules showed higher chromium concentration. The results obtained in this study show that untreated Q. cerris and black agglomerate cork granules can be an effective and economical alternative to more costly materials for the treatment of liquid wastes containing chromium. PDF
High-heat treatment after surface application of chitosan was used in an effort to improve physical and mechanical performances of particleboard. Particleboard is mainly used in the furniture industry and also used as a home decoration material; however, it has a poor dimensional stability. In this work, hardwood chips were obtained from a commercial plant; half of the chips were used for the control panels without chitosan treatment, and the other half were treated with chitosan acetate solutions (2% wt). Those chitosan-treated particles were also exposed to extra high-heat (140°C) treatment for 90 minutes to convert chitosan acetate back to chitin. Liquid phenol-formaldehyde resin was sprayed onto dry particles at a level of 6 and 7% (wt) based upon oven-dry weight. The mat was pressed (200°C) for 11 minutes to form 19 mm thickness and a target of 0.63 g cm-3 density panels. Thickness swelling, linear expansion, and water gain of the treated panels were reduced over untreated panels during a 24-hour water-soak test. In addition, chitosan-treated panels showed better internal bond strength than control panels. Static bending test results showed a negative effect for the chitosan treated particleboard. PDF
Selective logging in mature hardwood stands of Caspian forests often causes physical damage to residual trees through felling and skidding operations, resulting in a decline in bole quality and subsequent loss of tree value. This study evaluated the logging damage to residual trees following logging operations. A total density of 5.1 trees/ha and 17.3 m3/ha of wood were harvested. On average, 9.8 trees were damaged for every tree extracted, including 8 trees destroyed or severely damaged. The most common types of damage included uprooted stems, stem wounds to the cambial layer, and bark scrapes. Damage to trees sustained along skid trails was found to be significantly more than the damage that incurred within logging gaps and winching areas. The results of this study suggest that logging practices also need to be accompanied by close supervision of field personnel and post-logging site inspections to be implemented properly. PDF
The objective of this study was to evaluate the discoloration of European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) specimens treated with different chemicals and surface coated with different UV absorbers before being subjected to artificial weathering. The results showed that the influence of coatings containing UV absorbers (UV screeners micronized TiO2 and UVA of hydroxyphenyl-s-triazine types) were similar to each other. The UV screener TiO2 led to the least discoloration of the coated wood surface, closely followed by the UVA of hydroxyphenyl-s-triazines (HPT). The color stability was determined to be better for pine wood treated with micronized copper preservative coated with UV absorber, in comparison to when it was only coated with UV absorbers and then subjected to weathering. Microscopic observation revealed that the clear-coats penetration behavior was different in wood preservative-treated and in untreated wood of Scots pine, which has various extractives. However, the color stability and coating penetration was nearly the same in beech wood treated with preservatives and in untreated beech wood. We provide an explanation for why these effects occurred and discuss the implications of our findings for the development of weather-resistant wood materials. PDF
Zhao, Q., Sun, D., Wang, Z., Pu, J., Jin, X., and Xing, M. (2012). "Effects of different activation processes on H2O2/TAED bleaching of Populus nigra chemi-thermo mechanical pulp," BioRes. 7(4), 4889-4901.
Tetra acetyl ethylene diamine (TAED) was used as an activator in H2O2 bleaching to improve bleaching efficiency. The present work was aimed at confirming different activations for various H2O2/TAED bleaching processes, including the addition of acetic anhydride and the step-addition of sodium hydroxide. The results showed that an acetic anhydride dosage of 1%, an acetic anhydride treatment time of 10 min, and an addition time of 45 min were the optimal treatment conditions. The optimum processes of NaOH step-addition treatment in H2O2 bleaching and in H2O2/TAED bleaching also were confirmed, respectively. The o-quinone contents of H2O2 bleached lignin and H2O2/TAED bleached lignin were determined. The results indicated that H2O2/TAED bleached lignin has a lower o-quinone content than H2O2 bleached lignin, which is one of the reasons for the H2O2/TAED bleaching process having better bleaching efficiency than H2O2 bleaching. PDF
Dilute phosphoric acid pretreatment of moso bamboo materials was studied for producing high quality dissolving pulp for textile applications. The dynamics of dilute acid pretreatment were considered. The Saeman model was found to describe well the acid hydrolysis of moso bamboo hemicelluloses to their monomers under different temperatures and different dilute phosphoric acid concentrations. The initial degradation rate of hemicelluloses was much higher than its subsequent degradation rate, and the xylose generation rate increased with increasing temperature. The change rule of the pentose extraction rate was considered along with the pretreatment factor (P factor). Optimum dilute acid pretreatment conditions were 170 °C and 45 minutes. Based on the optimum conditions and a mass balance of sugars, a weight loss of 26.5% of the solid and liquid fractions combined was observed after the pretreatment. SEM results revealed that the moso bamboo fibers surfaces and cell wall were damaged. With the surface area increasing, the accessible pore areas also increased. At the same time, the crystallinity of the cellulose was reduced, which created a favorable environment for chemical penetration in the subsequent treatment. PDF
Biomass represents an abundant and relatively low cost carbon resource that can be utilized to produce platform chemicals such as levulinic acid. Novel oligomeric flame retardants, the poly(MDP-PDCP-MA)s (PMPMs), were designed and synthesized using diphenolic acid as one of the raw materials, which is derived from levulinic acid. To change the molar ratio of reactants, a series of PMPM samples with different nitrogen contents were obtained and characterized by FTIR and solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy. The solubility test and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) indicated a good solvent-resistant property and thermal stability. The flame retardancy and thermal behavior of ABS with 30% loading of different PMPM samples were investigated by limiting oxygen index test (LOI), TGA, and microscale combustion colorimeter (MCC). The results showed that PMPMs are effective charring agents that can increase the thermal stability and flame retardancy of ABS. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations of the residue of ABS/PMPM blends indicated the compact charred layer formed was responsible for improving the thermal stability and char yield of ABS with low nitrogen content in PMPM-1 flame retardant. PDF
Wu, W.-B., Gu, J., Jing, Y., Zhou, X.-F., and Dai, H.-Q. (2012). "Preparation and retention performance of crosslinked and hydrophobically associating cationic polyacrylamide," BioRes. 7(4), 4926-4937.
“Water-in-water” emulsions of cross-linked and hydrophobically associating cationic polyacrylamide (CHCPAM) with cationic groups (methacrylatoethyl trimethyl ammonium chloride, DMC), hydrophobic groups (octadecyl methacrylate, OA), and cross-linked groups (N, N’-methylene bisacrylamide, MBA) were prepared by dispersion polymerization. The structure of the copolymer was confirmed by FTIR and 1HNMR analyses. The prepared “water-in-water” emulsions possessed high solids content, low viscosity, good stability, and water solubility. Optical microscope images showed that the diameters of most emulsion particles were several microns. Appropriate concentrations of OA and MBA for a stable dispersion system were in the range of 0 to 0.1 wt% and 0 to 50 ppm. “Water-in-water” emulsions of CHCPAM can be directly used as a retention aid without further processing. They have a comparative retention rate, better anti-shearing ability, and better salt resistance, compared to commercial CPAM. The cross-linked structure of CHCPAM contributed to the anti-shearing ability. Intermolecular and intramolecular hydrophobic association of CHCPAM was the most important factor in improving resistance to salt. PDF
de los Santos-Villalobos, S., Hernández-Rodríguez, L. E., Villaseñor-Ortega, F., and Peña-Cabriales, J. J. (2012). "Production of Trichoderma asperellum T8a spores by a "home-made" solid-state fermentation of mango industrial wastes," BioRes. 7(4), 4938-4951.
Dry wastes (dw) generated in processing mangoes, composed (in dry weight) mainly of soluble carbohydrates (71 ± 2%) and fiber (16 ± 1%), were evaluated as substrates in a “home-made” solid-state fermentation (using polyurethane foam as inert support matrix, various C:N ratios, moisture contents, and incubation periods) of Trichoderma asperellum T8a, a promising biological control agent against the mango pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (causal agent of anthracnose). Highest spore production (2.5 x 106 up to 76 ± 3 x 108 spores g-1 dw) occurred after 8 days of incubation [at 28 ± 1 °C, relative humidity of 85 ± 5%, photoperiod of 12h (540 Lux) - 12h (20 Lux)] at a C:N ratio of 26, and a moisture content of 78%. Scanning electron microscopy showed that T. asperellum T8a was able to grow on mango industrial wastes and into polyurethane foam. The extensive growth can be related to cellulases secreted by this fungus, liberating glucose from these wastes to its growth. Most (94 ± 1%) of the spores grown on mango industrial wastes survived storage at 4 °C for 7 days and were equally effective as those grown on potato dextrose agar medium (86 ± 4% viable) in biological control tests against C. gloeosporioides ATCC MYA 456. Results indicate the potential use of mango industrial wastes as substrates to produce T. asperellum T8a spores in situ (mango orchards) under a cheap “home-made” solid-state fermentation, reducing problems associated with wastes disposal and permitting the production of a biological control agent against C. gloeosporioides. PDF
Qian, Y., Qin, Z., Vu, N.-M., Tong, G., and Chin, Y. C. F. (2012). "Comparison of nanocrystals from tempo oxidation of bamboo, softwood, and cotton linter fibers with ultrasonic-assisted process," BioRes. 7(4), 4952-4964.
Fully bleached kraft bamboo pulp (BPFs), fully bleached kraft softwood pulp (SPFs), and bleached cotton linter pulp (CPFs), which have different crystallinities, were oxidized in the TEMPO-NaBr-NaClO system with ultrasonic treatment for producing nanocrystals. The carboxylate content of nanocrystals made from BPFs, SPFs, and CPFs were 2.10, 2.02, and 1.66 mmol/g, respectively. Nanocrystals of BPFs and SPFs had widths of 5 to 15 nm and lengths of 400 to 800 nm. The length and width of CPFs nanocrystals were 200 to 400 nm and 15 to 25 nm. The oxidizing rates of BPFs, SPFs, and CPFs were different. These differences could be attributed to crystallinity. Crystallinity affected microstructures, chemical process, and the efficiency of ultrasonication. Crystallinity also shaped the nanocrystals, since nanocrystals consist of the residual crystalline regions after chemical oxidation and ultrasonication. Fibers of lower crystallinity (such as bamboo) showed a higher reactivity, and the nanocrystals made from low crystallinity materials were longer, thinner, more rapidly formed, and required less energy in their preparation. PDF
Effects of the mixing method of K2CO3 with the source biomass and thermal history on the properties of the mangosteen peel activated carbons (MSACs) were investigated. The one-step impregnation activation process was found to be remarkably effective in increasing the mesoporosity of the activated carbon (L-MSAC) as well as BET surface area (SBET) and total pore volume, compared to the solid-solid dry mixing method in a two-stage process. The better fit of Langmuir isotherm indicates a maximum adsorption capacity of Cu(II) to be 21.74 mg·g-1 for L-MSAC, which makes it a promising adsorbent for the removal of copper ion from aqueous solutions. PDF
van Dyk, J. S., Low Ah Kee, N., Frost, C. L., and Pletschke, B. I. (2012). "Extracellular polysaccharide production in Bacillus licheniformis SVD1 and its immunomodulatory effect," BioRes. 7(4), 4976-4993.
Bacillus licheniformis SVD1 exhibited highest production of three different polysaccharides when sucrose was used as the carbon source for polysaccharide production and yeast extract was used as the nitrogen source. Polysaccharides were characterized using size exclusion chromatography (SEC), thin layer chromatography (TLC), gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GCMS), and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to examine the topography of the cells and polysaccharides. The cell-associated polysaccharides were composed of galactose, while two different polysaccharides were present in the extracellular medium, one of 2,000 kDa (EPS1), consisting of fructose monomers and identified as a levan with (2→6)-linkages and (1→2)-branching linkages. The other extracellular polysaccharide (EPS2) consisted of mannose and galactose and had a range of sizes as identified through SEC. All three polysaccharides displayed an immune modulatory effect as measured using Interleukin 6 (IL6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). PDF
Fu, K., Wang, C., Sun, S., Tong, G., and Chin, Y. F. (2012). "A laboratory measurement method for pressure sensitive adhesives in agglomeration deinking of mixed office waste paper: The high-low scanning contrast method," BioRes. 7(4), 4994-5008.
A simple measurement method for pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) in an agglomeration deinking system of mixed office waste paper was studied. This method was based on the different scanning performance of ink and PSA specks in hot-pressed and oven-dried handsheets with the change of contrast values that had been selected and set in the image analysis software. The numbers of ink specks per square meter (NPM) were well recognized at both low and high contrast values and exhibited a very good linear relationship within a range of contrast values. The PSA specks, on the other hand, could not be recognized at the low contrast values and could only be recognized at high contrast values. The NPM value of the ink specks was found to have the highest values at the high contrast values and could be accurately predicted by its NPM value at the low contrast values. Thus, the NPM value of the PSA specks could be easily calculated by the total NPM of the handsheet at the high contrast value minus the projected NPM of the ink specks from its low contrast conditions. Compared to the dye method, which was also used on the measurement of microstickies, this method is suggested as a simple and quick laboratory tool to measure the relative quantity of PSA in the mixed office waste paper with minimum interference from the residual toner ink. PDF
The effect of commercial heat treatment on physical and mechanical properties of compression wood (CW) and opposite wood (OW) of black pine (Pinus nigra Arnold) was investigated. Black pine logs containing CW were cut parallel to the pith and separated into CW and OW sections. A commercial heat treatment process was applied to pine lumber at 180 and 210 ºC for 3 hours. Water absorption (WA), contact angle (CA), swelling, modulus of rupture (MOR), modulus of elasticity (MOE), and impact bending strength (IBS) were measured. The results showed that heat treatment decreased water absorption and swelling of the CW and OW of black pine. Heat treatment at 210 °C temperature decreased the longitudinal swelling of CW by 51.4%. Higher immersion time lowered the effect of heat treatment on the WA values. The CA values of the CW and OW increased due to heat treatment. Heat treatment reduced the MOR, MOE, and IBS values. The results indicated that MOR, MOE, and CA values were highly affected in the CW; on the other hand, the IBS value was highly affected in the OW by heat treatment compared to control groups. The results indicate that heat-stabilized CW can be used more widely and effectively in the forest products industry. PDF
Most research on the upgrading of bio-oil by cracking has been done under atmospheric pressure, which results in a catalyst coke yield as high as 20 wt%. In this paper, pressurized cracking, as well as co-cracking with methanol proved to be an effective solution for relieving catalyst deactivation. HZSM-5 catalyst was found to deactivate rapidly in the cracking process of pure ketones. However, when methanol was used as the co-cracking substance for ketones under 2 MPa, ketones reached a full conversion of 100 % without obvious catalyst deactivation. The highest selectivity of bio-gasoline phase from co-cracking of ketones and methanol reached a value of 31.6%, in which liquid hydrocarbons had a relative content of 97.2%. The co-cracking of hydroxypropanone and methanol had lower bio-gasoline phase selectivity but better oil phase quality (liquid hydrocarbons selectivity up to 99%) than those of cyclopentanone and methanol. Based on the experimental results, the promotion mechanism of methanol on cracking of ketones in bio-oil was illustrated by a co-cracking mechanism model. PDF
El Mansouri, N.-E., Espinach, F. X., Julian, F., Verdaguer, N., Torres, L., Llop, M. F., and Mutje, P. (2012). "Research on the suitability of organosolv semi-chemical triticale fibers as reinforcement for recycled HDPE composites," BioRes. 7(4), 5032-5047.
The main objective of this research was to study the feasibility of incorporating organosolv semi-chemical triticale fibers as the reinforcing element in recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE). In the first step, triticale fibers were characterized in terms of chemical composition and compared with other biomass species (wheat, rye, softwood, and hardwood). Then, organosolv semi-chemical triticale fibers were prepared by the ethanolamine process. These fibers were characterized in terms of its yield, kappa number, fiber length/diameter ratio, fines, and viscosity; the obtained results were compared with those of eucalypt kraft pulp. In the second step, the prepared fibers were examined as a reinforcing element for recycled HDPE composites. Coupled and non-coupled HDPE composites were prepared and tested for tensile properties. Results showed that with the addition of the coupling agent maleated polyethylene (MAPE), the tensile properties of composites were significantly improved, as compared to non-coupled samples and the plain matrix. Furthermore, the influence of MAPE on the interfacial shear strength (IFSS) was studied. The contributions of both fibers and matrix to the composite strength were also studied. This was possible by the use of a numerical iterative method based on the Bowyer-Bader and Kelly-Tyson equations. PDF
Jiang, Z., Wang, H., Tian, G., Liu, X., and Yu, Y. (2012). "Sensitivity of several selected mechanical properties of moso bamboo to moisture content change under the fibre saturation point," BioRes. 7(4), 5048-5058.
The moisture dependence of different mechanical properties of bamboo has not been fully understood. In this work, the longitudinal tensile modulus, bending modulus, and compressive and shearing strength parallel to the grain were determined for bamboo of ages 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, and 4.5 years under different moisture contents (MC) to elucidate the sensitivity of different mechanical properties of bamboo to MC change. The results showed that the four mechanical properties of bamboo respond differently to MC changes. Compressive and shearing strength parallel to the grain were most sensitive to MC changes, followed by longitudinal tensile modulus, then bending modulus. This can be partially explained by the different responses of the three main components in the plant cell wall to MC change. For tensile modulus and bending modulus, the effect of bamboo age on the sensitivity to MC change was insignificant, while young bamboo (0.5 years old) was more sensitive to MC changes for shear strength and less sensitive for compression strength than older bamboo. PDF
Rhizomucor tauricus, an industrial fungus, was immobilized in sodium alginate and used as adsorbent for the removal of nickel from aqueous solutions. The biosorption capacity of Ni(II) was found to be 394 mg/g of immobilized biomass. It was observed that an increase in pH from 3 to 6 increased the percent adsorption, and an increase in liquid-to-solid ratio from 2 to 10 increased the metal uptake. The percent adsorption was increased when increasing the initial metal concentration from 25 to 100 mg/L. The equilibrium biosorption data was evaluated by Langmuir, Freundlich, and Langmuir-Freundlich (L-R) isotherm models, and was best described by the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. FTIR analysis revealed that –NH (bending), C–H (stretching), C=O (stretching), and –OH functional groups were mainly responsible for Ni(II) biosorption. Thus, this study demonstrated that the immobilized Rhizomucor tauricus biomass could be used as an adsorbent for the treatment of Ni(II) from aqueous solution. PDF
During the most recent decades the U.S. wood products and furniture manufacturing industries have been greatly affected by economic cycles, rising production and transportation costs, changing buyer habits, and, arguably most powerfully, increasing global competition. However, theories exist stating that the use of management systems, such as Lean, allows companies to be more successful despite operating in a more challenging environment. To assess Virginia’s wood products and furniture manufacturing industry’s Lean awareness and Lean implementation efforts, a census survey was conducted. Findings indicate that a majority of Virginia's wood products and furniture manufacturing industry have heard about Lean (72 percent), but a relatively low number of respondents are aware of the details of Lean. Forty-seven percent of respondents indicated to have implemented Lean. However, the extent of Lean implementation varied widely, with a majority having implemented less than half of all 29 Lean elements inquired about in this survey. Business results from implementing Lean and the need for external Lean implementation support are presented in the second manuscript of this two-manuscript series. PDF
This two-part publication about Lean practices by Viriginia’s wood products and furniture manufacturing industries reports results from researching the awareness, the implementation status, the business results, and the need for external implementation support of Virginian companies. This second manuscript focuses on business results and the need for external implementation support. Except for “sales per employee,” where less than half of respondents reported an improvement due to the implementation of Lean in their operation, a majority of respondents indicated improved business results for “lead time,” “on-time delivery,” “inventory turnover,” and “cost per unit.” With respect to the need for external Lean implementation support, only 23 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. “Training management,” “training shop floor employees,” and “implementing [Lean] with extensive employee involvement” were, with 67, 58, and 48 percent frequencies, the most often named forms of Lean implementation support requested. Results from this study seem to indicate an opportunity to support the well-being of Virginia’s wood products and furniture manufacturing industries through improved communication of the benefits of Lean and offering specific types of training to companies. PDF
Activated carbon was prepared from sugarcane bagasse with phosphoric acid activation by a mechanochemical process. The effects of milling time on adsorption properties and pore structure of activated carbon were evaluated. The results showed that phosphoric acid activation was assisted by the mechanochemical process, which can reduce the processing time and improve the adsorption performance of the prepared activated carbon. The iodine number, the methylene blue adsorption value, and the specific surface area of the prepared activated carbons were improved from 647.94 mg/g, 150 mg/g and 1075.21 m2/g to 889.37 mg/g, 177 mg/g, and 1254.52 m2/g, respectively. Compared with conventional phosphoric acid activation, the activated carbon produced by the mechanochemical process achieved the advantages of shorter processing time, greater adsorption capacity, and higher adsorbed amounts of iodine, methylene blue, and nitrogen. PDF
Heat treatment can be used to improve the physical properties and durability of wood. The results achieved by heat treatment can be affected significantly by various factors. Juvenile wood and mature wood from the same trunk have different properties, and the effects of heat treatment on their physical properties have not been well defined. Thus, a study to determine the differences in the physical properties of juvenile wood and mature wood of E. grandis after heat treatment was conducted. Samples of both types of wood were treated at temperatures of 120, 150, and 180 ºC for durations of 4, 6, and 8 h. The results showed that the physical properties of juvenile and mature wood, e.g., swelling, moisture content, and fiber saturation point, did not decrease to the same extent. Mass loss of mature wood was higher than that of juvenile wood. Generally, percentage decreases of volumetric swelling, moisture content, and fiber saturation point of juvenile wood were more affected than those of mature wood. PDF
In this work, the effect of oil heat treatment (OHT) on the swelling properties and changes in the rate of moisture uptake of poplar wood (Populus × euramericana cv. Pannónia) were investigated. Eighteen different treatments (combinations of three vegetable oils, two temperatures, and three durations) were studied. The results showed that OHT decreases the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) and the swelling of poplar wood. The degree of swelling and the EMC are influenced by both the duration and temperature of treatment. With an increase in duration and temperature, the EMC decreased. Consequently, the anti-swelling efficiency (ASE) increased. OHT wood adsorbs less moisture than natural wood, but it reaches a maximum – EMC at the momentary climate – at the same time under all the investigated treatments. The moisture uptake is fastest in the beginning and thereafter it slows significantly. Decreasing the moisture uptake by OHT wood is due to the decreasing of its water storage capacity. PDF
Tannin-boron wood preservatives were investigated for their resistance against outdoor agents. This work focused on the analysis of the causes that affect the durability of the tannin-hexamine-treated samples. In particular, dimensional stability, resistance to leaching, and resistance to biological agents were investigated. The combined effect of deterioration agents was evaluated by subjecting the treated samples to simulated and natural weathering tests. The study of the appearance and of the color components (L*, a*, and b*) according to CIELAB space of the exposed samples was monitored to assess the efficacy of the tannin-boron formulations for outdoor applications. Significant resistance against the action of water (EN 84, ENV 1250-2) and insects (EN 47) has been demonstrated in specific tests. Conversely, the continuous stress due to artificial and natural weathering deteriorates the color and the visible features of the treated specimens. The combined effect of moisture modifications, solar exposition, and leaching cycles damages the structure of the tannin-based polymeric network and subsequently it negatively affects its preservation properties. PDF
Pretreatment of sawdust using a combination of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and monochloroacetic acid (MCA) was investigated for the formation of reducing sugars. Optimum conditions for the pretreatment process were determined by the amount of reducing sugars formed during the enzymatic hydrolysis of the pretreated substrate. It was found that mercerization by NaOH played an important role in increasing the degree of substitution (DS) and that the maximum solubility was achieved during the etherification by MCA. A maximum amount of 34.2% lignin was removed in the process. As the DS of the substrate was increased, the efficiency of the hydrolysis process increased, leading to the higher yield of reducing sugars. The optimum operating conditions for the pretreatment process were determined to be 75 ºC at 90 rpm for 4 hours (2 hours for mercerization plus 2 hours for etherification). Under these operating conditions, with 1% (w/v) NaOH and 2% (w/w) MCA loading, a maximum DS of 0.2 and a solubility of 10.3% was attained. At 75 ºC and after 48 hours of the hydrolysis process, cellulases from Aspergillus niger resulted in the production of 2.88 g/L of glucose with a yield of 62.72% reducing sugars. X-ray diffraction (XRD) revealed reduced crystallinity of the sawdust and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) showed distortion of the structure after pretreatment. PDF
In this work, the physical and mechanical properties of bleached Eucalyptus pulp reinforced with nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) are compared with those of traditional beaten pulp used in the making of writing/printing and offset printing papers. For this purpose, three different types of hardwood slurries were prepared: beaten pulps, unbeaten pulps reinforced with NFC, and slightly beaten pulps also reinforced with NFC. Physical and mechanical tests were performed on handsheets from these different slurries. The results showed that adding NFC to unbeaten pulps results in physical and mechanical properties similar to those in pulps used for printing/writing papers. Nevertheless, the best results were obtained in slurries previously beaten at slight conditions and subsequently reinforced with NFC. These results demonstrate that the addition of NFC allows a reduction in beating intensity without decreasing the desired mechanical properties for this specific purpose. PDF
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)-based composites with alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ)- and micronized copper quaternary (MCQ)-treated wood fibers were manufactured through injection molding. The mechanical properties, water absorption, and biological resistance properties of the fabricated composites with different coupling treatments were investigated. Composites with ACQ- and MCQ-treated wood had mechanical properties comparable with those made of untreated wood. The different coupling agents worked well for the treated wood materials. Similar water absorption behaviors were observed for the HDPE composites containing treated wood and those containing untreated wood. The results of the termite test showed that the composites containing untreated wood had slightly more weight loss. The decay test revealed that the composites containing treated wood had less decay fungal growth on the surfaces, compared with samples from untreated wood, indicating enhanced decay resistance for the composites from the treated material. The stable mechanical properties and improved biological performances of the composites containing treated wood demonstrated the feasibility of making wood-plastic composites with pressure-treated wood materials, and thus offered a practical way to recycle treated wood into value-added composites. PDF
In this study, the optical and mechanical properties of polyurethane were improved by modified nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC). The surface of NCC was modified by 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS) and 3-methacryloxy-propyltrimethoxysilane (MPS) to overcome the lack of compatibility with polyurethane. Polyurethane with modified NCC was characterized by wetting property, X-ray powder diffraction, and thermogravimetric analysis. The pencil hardness, specular gloss, and abrasion resistance of modified polyurethane were determined using the methods of Chinese National Standards GB/T 6739-2006, GB/T 9754-2007, and GB/T 1768-2006. The wetting property of NCC modified by GPTMS increased by 25.9%, and modification from MPS resulted in a 22.5% decrease of the contact angle. MPS-modified NCC affected the crystal structure and thermal stability of polyurethane more significantly than NCC modified by GPTMS. The pencil hardness of polyurethane was enhanced with 1.5% modified NCC. The specular gloss and abrasion resistance of modified polyurethane increased by 253.1% (1.0% NCC modified by GPTMS) and 59.4% (1.5% NCC modified by GPTMS), respectively. MPS-modified NCC led to the inconspicuous improvements. PDF
In an effort to resolve problems related to the difficulty of degradation of the chelating agents EDTA and DTPA, this study used a kind of water treatment agent, 1-hydroxy ethylidene-1,1-diphosphonic acid (HEDP), as the chelating agent in the OPQP bleaching sequence of Acacia mangium kraft pulp. The Q stage was optimized with the use of response surface methodology (RSM) based on the Box-Behnken design (BBD). The results showed that the optimum chelating conditions for subsequent hydrogen peroxide bleaching were the following: Temperature of 54 °C, hold time 32 min, and dosage of agents 0.4%. These conditions resulted in the highest brightness value of 80.12% ISO and the selectivity coefficient of 0.46. Under these optimum chelating conditions, the results showed that the effect of HEDP in bleaching is better than that of EDTA with regard to viscosity of pulp, and that HEDP is similar to EDTA and DTPA in other properties. PDF
Furfural residues produced from the furfural industry were investigated as a substrate for lactic acid production by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF). Alkaline peroxide was used for delignification of furfural residues to improve the final lactic acid concentration. The residue was treated with 1.3% to 1.7% hydrogen peroxide at 80 °C for 1 h with a substrate concentration of 3.33%. SSF of furfural residues with different delignification degrees were carried out to evaluate the effect of delignification degree on lactic acid production. Using corn hydrolysates/ furfural residues as substrates, SSF with different media were carried out to investigate the effect of lignin on the interaction between enzymes and lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria had a negative effect on cellulase, thus resulting in the reduction of enzyme activity. Lignin and nutrients slowed down the decreasing trend of enzyme activity. A higher delignification resulted in a slower fermentation rate and lower yield due to degradation products of lignin and the effect of lignin on the interaction between enzymes and lactic acid bacteria. For the purpose of lactic acid production, a moderate delignification (furfural residues with the lignin content of 14.8%) was optimum. PDF
Flores-Yepes, J.-A., Pastor-Perez, J.-J., Gimeno-Blanes, F.-J., Rodriguez-Guisado, I., and Frutos-Fernandez, M.-J. (2012). "Full recovery of Arundo donax particleboard from swelling test without waterproofing additives," BioRes. 7(4), 5222-5235.
This paper presents the development of particleboard based on common reed, reproducing the industry standard manufacturing process applied to wood chipboard. One of the main properties of the resulting board was its resistance to water, due to the hydrophobic properties of the common reed, despite there being no incorporation of melamine or any other waterproofing additive. The boards that were developed were analyzed using 2 mm and 4 mm sieves for fibre selection, a manufacturing pressure of 3 N/mm2 and 25 N/mm2, and a volume of urea formaldehyde resin content ranging from 5.2% to 13% (8 to 20% liquid format). Standard destructive tests were performed. It was found that under certain applied conditions, namely high pressure and adequate resin proportion (a pressure of over 3 N/mm2 and over 15% liquid resin), Arundo donax L. particleboard demonstrated full recovery from the swelling test. This finding highlights an unmatched property in terms of recovery from the swelling test of the designed board. This property confers a interesting property to be used in high humidity environments without the need for special resin or waterproofing process. PDF
Shi, J.-B., Yang, Q.-L., Lin, L., Gong, Y., Pang, C.-S., and Xie, T.-J. (2012). "The structural characterization of corn stalks hemicelluloses during active oxygen cooking as a pretreatment for biomass conversion," BioRes. 7(4), 5236-5246.
The structural characteristics of corn stalks hemicelluloses during the active oxygen cooking process as a pretreatment of biomass conversion were investigated in this work. The hemicelluloses obtained from the corn stalks, pulp, and yellow liquor were evaluated by high-performance anion-exchange chromatography (HPAEC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), and 1H-13C 2D hetero-nuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) spectroscopy. Based on the sugar and GPC analysis, FT-IR, and NMR spectroscopy, it could be concluded that the hemicelluloses were composed of backbones of (1→4)-β-D-xylopyranose substituted α-L-arabinofuranose and 4-O-methyl-α-D-glucuronic acid. During the cooking process, the hemicelluloses with more side chains were removed from raw material. The backbones were significantly damaged as well. Additionally, the ester linkages in the raw material were completely broken after the cooking. PDF
Agnihotri, S., Dutt, D., and Vidyarthi, A. K. (2012). "ECF and TCF bleaching of Saccharum officinerum-CO89003 bagasse soda-AQ pulp with alkali-thermo-tolerant crude xylanase from Coprinellus disseminatus SW-1 NTCC1165," BioRes. 7(4), 5247-5257.
An alkali-thermo-tolerant crude xylanase from Coprinellus disseminatus SW-1 NTCC1165 produced under solid-state fermentation conditions improves the brightness of sugarcane bagasse soda-AQ pulp by 7.3, 4.7, 6.1, and 8.2% in XODED, XOD(EOP)DP, OX(EOP)P, and XO(EOP)P bleaching sequences, respectively, at an enzyme dose of 8IU/g, a reaction time of 120 min, a consistency of 10%, and a pH of 6.4 at 55 °C. An improvement in brightness by 2.1% for pulp bleached by XO(EOP)P compared to OX(EOP)P sequence validates that xylanase treatment is more effective for hydrolysing lignin-carbohydrates complexes before oxygen treatment. AOX after XODED and XOD(EOP)DP sequences is reduced by 41.43 and 40%, respectively, compared to controls, but an increase in COD and color in studied bleaching sequences is attributable to the hydrolysis of hemicelluloses and the release of lignin-carbohydrates complexes after xylanase treatment. Xylanase treatment modifies fibre surface by introducing cracks, peelings, swelling, and external fibrillation, which facilitates faster penetration of bleach chemicals by disrupting physical barriers, as revealed by scanning electron microscopy. PDF
Darabi, P., Gril, J., Thevenon, M. F., Karimi, A. N., and Azadfalah, M. (2012). "Evaluation of high density polyethylene composite filled with bagasse after accelerated weathering followed by biodegradation," BioRes. 7(4), 5258-5267.
Wood-plastic composites (WPC) have many applications as structural and non-structural material. As their outdoor application becomes more widespread, their resistance against weathering, particularly ultraviolet light and biodegradation becomes of more concern. In the present study, natural fiber composites (NFPC) made of bagasse and high density polyethylene, with and without pigments, were prepared by extrusion and subjected to accelerated weathering for 1440 h; then weathered and un-weathered samples were exposed to fungal and termite resistance tests. The chemical and surface qualities of samples were studied by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, colorimetry, contact angle, and roughness tests before and after weathering. Using bagasse as filler does reduce the discoloration of weathered samples. Adding pigments may reduce the effect of weathering on lignin degradation, although it favors polymer oxidation, but it increases the weight loss caused by fungi. Despite the high resistance of samples against biological attack, weathering triggers attack by termites and fungi on the surface and causes surface quality loss. PDF
Previous research has demonstrated that a laccase/xylanase system (LXS) from white-rot fungus (Lentinus lepideus) has the same ability to delignify as a laccase/mediator system (LMS). In order to enhance delignification ability of LXS treatment, the effect of refining on delignification with LXS treatment of Masson pine (Pinus massoniana) pulp was investigated by refining the pulp in a PFI mill to different revolutions (14,000/21,000/35,000/42,000/56,000) prior to LXS treatment (enzyme dosage 5/10/15IU/g o.d. pulp). The results indicated that both kappa number and yield of the LXS treated pulp decreased with increasing refining. A substantial delignification without severe yield loss could be achieved by moderate refining prior to LXS treatment. The SEM images suggested that refining increased the accessibility of the material to enzymes and thereby enhanced the delignification ability of LXS. The small cellulase activity detected in the LXS had little effect on the viscosity of the treated pulp even at high enzyme dosage. PDF
The aim of this research was to study the physical and chemical performance of poplar wood treated by chemi-thermal modification. A thermal treatment was used to catalyze the effect of the methylolurea impregnated pre-treatment by curing the poplar wood at 160 ° C under atmospheric conditions. The results showed that the thermal treatment played an important role in the chemical and mechanical performance. Such an approach not only can significantly reduce the hygroscopicity, but also can increase the bending strength and compressive strength parallel to grain. The positions of the XRD peaks did not change, which indicated that the structure of cellulose was not noticeably affected by the thermal treatment. The FT-IR analysis showed that the intensity of hydroxyl and carbonyl absorption peaks decreased significantly, which indicated that the NH-CH2-OH of methylolurea reacted with the wood carboxyl (C=O) and hydroxyl (-OH). The TGA showed that the thermal stability of treated wood improved. The SEM showed that the cell wall and vessels were filled with impregnated chemicals. PDF
Coman, G., Leuştean, I., Georgescu, L., and Bahrim, G. (2012). "Optimization of protein production by Geotrichum candidum MIUG 2.15 by cultivation on paper residues, using response surface methodology," BioRes. 7(4), 5290-5303.
Response surface methodology (RSM) based on the 23 factorial central composite design (CCD) was used to optimize the biotechnological conditions for growth and protein production by a selected fungal strain Geotrichum candidum MIUG 2.15, by solid-state cultivation on a semisolid medium based on a mixture of paper residues, i.e. office paper, newspaper, and cardboard, mixed in a ratio of 1:1:1(w/w), supplemented with cheese whey waste and complex manure. Three independent variables, the solid:liquid ratio, the concentration of complex manure, and cultivation time, were evaluated to determine their correlative effect on biomass production and protein biosynthesis. The optimal conditions for obtaining a maximum protein yield of 9.53% w/w dry mass were the following: the complex manure concentration of 0.5%, the solid:liquid ratio of 1:5, and the growth time of 10 days. PDF
In this article we studied the mechanism of wood drying using infrared (IR) heat transfer. Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) samples of 50 mm and 200 mm thickness were exposed to IR radiation, and the temperature and moisture profiles were recorded at the surface and at the core of the samples under controlled experimental conditions. It is proposed that the moisture transport in wood during drying is governed by osmotic effects. Based on such a hypothesis, the temperature stagnation was explained by a lower localized pressure at the core, which reduced the boiling point temperature of water. As moisture is drawn away due to osmosis from the central region, it cannot fill the empty lumens again; therefore, the pressure decreases locally. The evaporation of the internal moisture is brought about by a partial vacuum resulting in the disappearance of the liquid water. PDF
The ability of natural and synthetic hinokitiol, as well as a water soluble derivative (hinokitiol sodium salt), to protect wood against fungal attack was examined. Synthetic and natural hinokitiol provided similar protection. All three materials exhibited similar antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger and Penicillium citrinum on yellow poplar wafers at concentrations of 1 mg/mL or greater. Fungal attack by Gloeophyllum trabeum or Trametes versicolor was completely inhibited in soil block tests in wood treated with any of the three extracts at concentrations of 20 mg/mL or greater. The water soluble hinokitiol sodium salt was highly susceptible to leaching, and blocks subjected to leaching had little resistance to fungal attack. The results suggest that further formulation development will be necessary to produce a water-soluble hinokitiol system that can resist leaching and retain biological activity. PDF
Yoon, L. W., Ngoh, G. C., and Chua, A. S. M. (2012). "Simultaneous production of cellulase and reducing sugar from alkali-pretreated sugarcane bagasse via solid state fermentation," BioRes. 7(4), 5319-5332.
This study optimized alkali pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse (SCB) and investigated the potential of alkali-pretreated SCB in producing cellulase and reducing sugar by a white-rot fungus, P. sanguineus, via solid state fermentation (SSF). The fermentability of the reducing sugar produced during SSF was examined by co-culturing yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with P. sanguineus. Central composite design (CCD) was applied to optimize the pretreatment based on reducing sugar yield obtained from enzymatic hydrolysis of the pretreated SCB. The model developed from CCD fitted the data well, and the optimized conditions for alkali pretreatment were 128 °C, 0.62 M NaOH, and 30 min with a reducing sugar yield of 97.8%. The alkali-pretreated SCB after washing and drying was cultivated with P. sanguineus during SSF. It was found that cellulase and reducing sugar can be produced simultaneously from this SSF system. The maximum cellulase activities determined from filter paper assay (FPase), carboxylmethylcellulase (CMCase) assay and β-glucosidase assay were 0.02 IU/mL, 0.11 IU/mL, and 0.13 IU/mL on day 8, day 3, and day 6 of cultivation, respectively. The maximum reducing sugar concentration of 19.9 mg/g pretreated SCB was obtained on day 4 of SSF. The reducing sugar produced was converted into ethanol upon the addition of yeast into the SSF system. Evidently, the reducing sugar acquired can be further utilized to produce other valuable products in subsequent processes. PDF
Soo, M. C., Wan Daud, W. R., and Leh, C. P. (2012). "Improvement of recycled paper's properties for the production of braille paper by impregnation with low grade cellulose acetate: Optimization using response surface methodology (RSM)," BioRes. 7(4), 5333-5345.
Paper dust is a kind of cellulosic waste that is generated by converting operations in paper mills. It was derived to a low-grade cellulose acetate in this study. Papers made from recycled fiber were then impregnated with the resultant cellulose acetate. Effects of impregnation conditions on the paper properties were statistically investigated by employing central composite design (CCD) based response surface methodology (RSM). Four response variables, namely density, burst index, smoothness, and rate of surface wettability were analyzed. Polynomial estimation model of each response was developed as functions of three independent variables, which are pressing temperature (T), dipping time (D), and concentration of cellulose acetate (C). The paper which was impregnated based on the calculated optimum condition (T: 163 °C, D: 2.8 minutes, and C: 2.7 percent), possessed a density of 0.5450 g/cm3, rate of surface wettability of 0.012°/s, burst index of 2.84 kPa m2/g, and paper smoothness of 475 mL/min. There was no significant difference between the experimental values and the predicted values calculated from estimation models. The cellulose acetate impregnated Braille papers made from recycled fibre was found to have better properties than those of commercial Braille paper in terms of rate of surface wettability and burst index. PDF
The effects of press pressure on glue line thickness (GLT) and properties of laminated veneer lumbers (LVLs) manufactured from half-round sliced I-214 hybrid poplar clone veneers with phenol formaldehyde adhesives were determined. The results showed that press pressures significantly influenced GLT and properties of LVLs. Results of higher specific gravity, thickness swelling ratio, and mechanical properties, but lower GLT and water absorption ratio were attributed to higher press pressure uses. Optimum properties were obtained by using a press pressure of 10 kg cm-2 in relation to GLT and properties of LVLs. Significant relationships were found between GLT and mechanical properties. GLT may provide reliable information to determine wood bonding quality and may be used for non-destructive evaluation of mechanical properties of wood composites in the future. PDF
Nguyen, C. T., Wagenführ, A., Phuong, L. X., Dai, V. H., Bremer, M., and Fischer, S. (2012). "The effects of thermal modification on the properties of two Vietnamese bamboo species, Part I: Effects on physical properties," BioRes. 7(4), 5355-5366.
Bamboo is a very interesting bioresource for use as a building material because of its properties of strength in combination with low density. However, its susceptibility to fungi and insects is problematic for its usage. Thermal modification is used in Vietnam to improve the durability and dimensional stability of bamboo. The thermal modification causes many changes related to the physical properties of bamboo, e.g., mass, color, and equilibrium moisture content (EMC). All these changes are dependent on the modification conditions (modification temperature and duration). The mass loss (ML), the color difference (DE*ab), and the reduction of EMC (DEMC) were due to the thermal modification increase with higher temperature and/or longer duration. Therefore the temperature had greater influence than the modification duration. The changes were slight at 130 °C (ML: 0,3…0,6 %; DE*ab: 3…5; DEMC: 0,5…0,8 % ), moderate at 180 °C (ML: 1,5…4 %; DE*ab: 21…37; DEMC: 3,6…4,4 %), but very strong at 220 °C (ML: 14…16 %; DE*ab: 46…51; DEMC: 5,6…5,7%). There are close correlations between the changes mentioned above. PDF
Sim, S. F., Mohamed, M., Mohd Irwan Lu, N. A. L., P. Sarman, N. S., and Samsudin, S. N. S. (2012). "Computer-assisted analysis of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectra for characterization of various treated and untreated agriculture biomass," BioRes. 7(4), 5367-5380.
A computational approach was used to analyze the FTIR spectra of a wide range of treated and untreated lignocellulosic biomass (coconut husk, banana trunk, sago hampas, rice husk, and empty fruit bunch). The biomass was treated with strong sulphuric acid and NaOH, respectively. A total of 87 spectra were obtained in which the absorption bands were de-convoluted automatically, generating a peak table of 87 rows and 60 columns. Square roots were taken of the peak values, with further standardization prior to Principal Component Analysis (PCA) for data exploration. In a scores plot, the treated and untreated biomass were distinguishable along the two main axes, PC1 and PC2. Examining the absorption bands corresponding to lignocellulosic components indicated that the acid pretreatment had resulted in dissolution and degradation of hemicelluloses and lignin, confirmed typically by disappearance of bands. The alkali treatment however was not as rigorous as the acid treatment, as some characteristic bands of hemicelluloses and lignin were enhanced, suggesting condensation of the degraded polysaccharides. The computer-assisted analysis of the FTIR spectra allowed efficient and simultaneous comparisons of lignocellulosic compositions present in various treated and untreated biomass. This represents an improvement relative to the conventional methods, since a large dataset can be handled efficiently and individual peaks can be examined. PDF
The effects of processing conditions such as pressure, temperature, and holding time on the flexural properties of bagasse and bamboo biodegradable composites were investigated. Each sample of bagasse or bamboo was mixed with a corn-starch-based biodegradable resin and fabricated by a hot press forming method. The cross-sectional structure of the bagasse fiber was found to be porous and compressible, while that of bamboo was found to be more solid. The relationship between flexural strength, flexural modulus, and pressure in bagasse fiber was apparently different from that of bamboo due to the differences in the cross-sectional structure. In bagasse, the flexural strength and flexural modulus increased with the increase in pressure, whereas in bamboo those properties decreased. In bagasse, an increase in pressure made the fibers into a more compressed structure, increasing their flexural properties. In rigid bamboo, an increase in pressure caused the resin to extrude between fibers, and this resulted in lower flexural properties. At temperatures above 170 °C, the resin depolymerized thermally and the degree of polymerization decreased. Thus, the flexural modulus and strength decreased gradually with increase in holding temperature in both bagasse and bamboo composites. Furthermore, a maximum fiber volume fraction existed for both bagasse and bamboo plastic composites in the approximate range of 75% to 80%. PDF
The effect of joint size on the loading capacity of wood single lap joints was studied with an orthogonal experimental design. The maximum load, modulus of elasticity, and modulus of rupture were the three mechanical indexes used to evaluate wood joint quality. A simulation model of bending tests was established using the finite element method. The stress distributions of the joints were analyzed; the peak stripping stress was reduced with an increase in gluing length and thickness. The increase in the corresponding experimental values of maximum load was in agreement with this conclusion. The joint force for various loading positions was simulated, and the peak stress was lowest at the location with the maximum offset. Therefore, the bending capacity of the wood joints can be improved by changing the loading position. Nondestructive fast Fourier transform (FFT) testing of the bending vibration was used to obtain the dynamic elastic modulus. A significant correlation existed between modulus of elasticity and modulus of rupture. Finite element simulation analysis and nondestructive testing are all effective methods for quality evaluation of wood joints, and they can be applied to the design and testing of wood joints. PDF
The goal of the present study was to investigate production of cellulase in low cost medium by thermotolerant yeast. After screening, an efficient yeast isolate having capability of C1 (exo-gluconase) and Cx (endo-gluconase) production was isolated and designated as strain R-1. Maximum enzyme production was achieved at 50 °C, pH 5.5 in the medium containing bagasse powder 4% (w/v), and ammonium sulphate 0.1% (w/v) after 72 hours of incubation. The composition containing bagasse powder, 4% (w/v); ammonium sulphate, 0.5 % (w/v); and glucose, 0.5% (w/v) achieved better production after complete medium optimization. The yeast isolate was able to tolerate wide ranges of temperature, pH, and substrate concentration for higher enzyme production. The isolated yeast was able to produce C1 (exo-gluconase) and Cx (endo-gluconase) enzymes in appropriate concentrations on a crude cellulosic substrate. Therefore, yeast may be used to power alcohol production. PDF
The ability of selected plant extracts from wood and foliage to inhibit mold regrowth on fungal colonized wood was evaluated on Douglas-fir sapwood. Most foliage extracts produced some inhibition of Graphium or Trichoderma species, but isolations of other fungi increased following treatment. Five out of eight wood extracts produced 50% reductions in isolations, and those from Alaska cedar, western juniper, and incense cedar produced at least 80% reductions. The results indicate that wood extracts may be useful for reducing the incidence of mold on wood products, but none of the materials evaluated completely inhibited the test fungi. These extracts may provide a useful value-added application for by-products of lumber production from these species. PDF
Wang, G., Cheng, J., Zhang, L., and Guo, M. (2012). "Physicochemical and functional properties, microstructure, and storage stability of whey protein/polyvinylpyrrolidone based glue sticks," BioRes. 7(4), 5422-5434.
A glue stick is comprised of solidified adhesive mounted in a lipstick-like push-up tube. Whey is a byproduct of cheese making. Direct disposal of whey can cause environmental pollution. The objective of this study was to use whey protein isolate (WPI) as a natural polymer along with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) to develop safe glue sticks. Pre-dissolved WPI solution, PVP, sucrose, 1,2-propanediol (PG), sodium stearate, defoamer, and preservative were mixed and dissolved in water at 90 °C and then molded in push-up tubes. Chemical composition, functional properties (bonding strength, glue setting time, gel hardness, extension/retraction, and spreading properties), microstructure, and storage stability of the prototypes were evaluated in comparison with a commercial control. Results showed that all WPI/PVP prototypes had desirable bonding strength and exhibited faster setting than PVP prototypes and control. WPI could reduce gel hardness and form less compact and rougher structures than that of PVP, but there was no difference in bonding strength. PVP and sucrose could increase the hygroscopicity of glue sticks, thus increasing storage stability. Finally, the optimized prototype GS3 (major components: WPI 8.0%, PVP 12.0%, 1,2-propanediol 10.0%, sucrose 10.0%, and stearic sodium 7.0%) had a comparable functionality to the commercial control. Results indicated that whey protein could be used as an adhesive polymer for glue stick formulations, which could be used to bond fiber or cellulose derived substrates such as paper. PDF
In the present study, magnesium silicate was produced by using wheat husk ash. Wheat husk was burned at 600 °C to obtain an amorphous ash structure, and the ash was processed with sodium hydroxide solution with heat to extract silica. Sodium silicate solution and magnesium salts were used to synthesize magnesium silicate. The present study investigates effects of the feeding rate on magnesium silicate production (0.6 mL/min, 35 mL/min, 70 mL/min), the type of magnesium salt (MgSO4 • 7H2O or MgCl2 • 6H2O), temperature (25 °C or 50 °C), and the washing agent (water and acetone) on the chemical composition and surface characteristics of magnesium silicate. The results demonstrated that all of the variables affected the surface characteristics of magnesium silicate, such as surface area, particle size, and pore volume. However, it was also observed that the studied parameters did not affect the chemical composition of magnesium silicate. The wheat husk ash-based magnesium silicates obtained in the experimental study had a BET surface area ranging from 79 to 91 m2/g and a particle size varying from 42 to 63 µm. PDF
One-component semi-matte (A) and two-component shiny (B) water-borne varnishes were applied on the surface of the test panels made of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Eastern beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) with 8%, 10%, and 12% moisture content in this study. The changes in color caused by the type of wood and moisture content on the water borne varnish layers were then investigated. The change of color in the samples was determined based on the statements in ASTM D 2224. It was determined that variations in the type of wood and moisture content affected water borne varnishes adversely, and the most apparent color change was observed in the Scots pine samples with 12% moisture content when varnish type B was applied. PDF
Pitch deposits originating from alkaline peroxide bleaching of mechanical pulps can seriously decrease the runnability of the paper machine when efforts have been made to increase the reuse of process water. In order to degrade pitch particles present in whitewater, lipase was immobilized on chitosan beads using a binary method. The operational stability of the immobilized lipase and its efficacy for treating whitewater were also preliminary studied. The results showed that the highest activity of immobilized lipase was achieved by using 0.5% 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) for activation and 0.0025% glutaraldehyde for cross-linking chitosan. The immobilized lipase also exhibited very good operational stability, and the pitch particles present in whitewater could be reduced by 66.8% after treatment with the immobilized lipase. PDF
A series of glycerol-plasticized starch composites reinforced by rice-husk cellulose nanocrystals was successfully fabricated through the solution casting technique. The rice husks must undergo alkali treatment, bleaching, and sulphuric acid hydrolysis before cellulose nanocrystals can be produced. The cellulose nanocrystal content used as filler was varied from 0 to 10 wt%. The thermal stability of the composite were analysed by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and derivative thermogravimetry (DTG). The starch biocomposite films reinforced with rice-husk cellulose nanocrystals showed improved tensile strengths and tensile moduli. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to determine the diameter and length distribution of the cellulose nanocrystals. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) showed that the cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were well distributed in the matrix. At the optimum 6% filler loading, the cellulose nanocrystals exhibited a higher reinforcing efficiency in the plasticized starch biocomposites than at any other filler loading. PDF
López, J. P., Gironès, J., Méndez, J. A., El Mansouri, N.-E., Llop, M., Mutjé, P., and Vilaseca, F. (2012). "Stone-ground wood pulp-reinforced polypropylene composites: Water uptake and thermal properties," BioRes. 7(4), 5478-5487.
Two of the drawbacks of using natural-based composites in industrial applications are thermal instability and water uptake capacity. In this work, mechanical wood pulp was used to reinforce polypropylene at a level of 20 to 50 wt. %. Composites were mixed by means of a Brabender internal mixer for both non-coupled and coupled formulations. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) were used to determine the thermal properties of the composites. The water uptake behavior was evaluated by immersion of the composites in water until an equilibrium state was reached. Results of water absorption tests revealed that the amount of water absorption was clearly dependent upon the fiber content. The coupled composites showed lower water absorption compared to the uncoupled composites. The incorporation of mechanical wood pulp into the polypropylene matrix produced a clear nucleating effect by increasing the crystallinity degree of the polymer and also increasing the temperature of polymer degradation. The maximum degradation temperature for stone ground wood pulp–reinforced composites was in the range of 330 to 345 ºC. PDF
Lin, S., Chen, L., Huang, L., Cao, S., Luo, X., Liu, K., and Huang, Z. (2012). "Preparation and characterization of chitosan/cellulose blend films using ZnCl2·3H2O as a solvent," BioRes. 7(4), 5488-5499.
Chitosan (CS)/cellulose (BC) blend films were successfully prepared using ZnCl2·3H2O as a solvent. Homogeneous structures without obvious phase separation between CS and BC for all blend films were observed by scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis. The tensile strengths of CS/BC blend films decreased with the increase of chitosan content. The results of X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis indicated that the crystal structures of BC and CS were disrupted during the processes of dissolving and regeneration. Also, the reformation of hydrogen bonds between CS and BC during dissolution and regeneration processes resulted in the shift of diffraction peaks. Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) analysis results confirmed this observation. Moreover, obvious antimicrobial capability of CS/BC blend films against E. coli has been observed, indicating that antibacterial activity of chitosan has not been significantly inactivated while using ZnCl2·3H2O as a solvent. Therefore, ZnCl2·3H2O can be regarded as a promising solvent to prepare degradable films with antibacterial properties. PDF
Liong, Y. Y., Halis, R., Lai, O. M., and Mohamed, R. (2012). "Conversion of lignocellulosic biomass from grass to bioethanol using materials pretreated with alkali and the white rot fungus, Phanerochaete chrysosporium," BioRes. 7(4), 5500-5513.
Grasses are abundant in many climatic regions of the world and have been regarded as weeds by many. This work investigated the use of Pennisetum purpureum (Napier grass) in the production of bioethanol. Two pretreated grasses were compared as the initial substance in the hydrolysis process followed by bacteria fermentation. For the purpose of breaking down lignin, alkali pretreatment, where grass was soaked in 7% NaOH, was used. For biological pretreatment, grass was incubated for 3 weeks with the white-rot fungus, Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Both types of pretreated materials were subjected to Trichoderma reesei ATCC 26921 enzyme hydrolysis. Glucose content from alkali-pretreated samples was 1.6-fold higher than fungus-pretreated samples. Hydrolysates from the pretreatments were fermented using the ethanol insensitive strain Escherichia coli K011. After 24 hours of fermentation, the ethanol yield from alkali-pretreated material was 1.5 times higher than the biological-pretreated material. It can be concluded that NaOH-pretreated enzyme hydrolysate had a better ethanol yield compared to biological-pretreated enzyme hydrolysate, but biological-pretreated enzyme hydrolysate had better ethanol conversion efficiency, which was 18.5 g/g. These results indicated that wild grass is capable of becoming an important biomass for small local bioethanol production. PDF
Coextruded wood-plastic composites (WPCs) with glass-fiber (GF) filled shells were manufactured, and their thermal expansion behavior was studied. A three-dimensional finite element model (FEM) considering differential properties of both shell and core layers was developed to predict the linear coefficient of thermal expansion (LCTE) of the material. It was shown that the LCTE values varied with composite structure and composition (i.e., core-shell thicknesses and materials). The use of GF-filled shells helped lower overall composite LCTE values. The imbalance of shell and core LCTE, and their moduli led to complex stress fields within a given composite system. The FEM predicted a trend of LCTE change with varying composite structures, which was in good agreement with the experimental data. This study provides for the first time a finite element modeling technique to optimize raw material composition and composite structure for optimizing thermal expansion behavior of co-extruded WPCs. PDF
Wedin, H., Antonsson, S., Ragnar, M., and Lindström, M. E. (2012). "Influence of xylan content on the oxygen delignification performance of eucalypt kraft pulps as studied using prehydrolysis and xylanase treatments," BioRes. 7(4), 5527-5541.
Common metrics for evaluating the efficiency of oxygen delignification include the kappa number and Klason lignin content. As a change in xylan content often leads to a change in HexA content, the kappa number must be corrected for the HexA contribution before evaluating the degree of oxygen delignification when trying to understand the process in detail. Questions could also be raised about the accuracy of the Klason lignin method for oxygen-delignified hardwood kraft pulps, since the amount of residual lignin is small in such pulp. This study investigates the influence of xylan content on oxygen delignification efficiency in Eucalyptus urograndis kraft pulps. Xylan content was varied using two methods: treatment with xylanase and with acid prehydrolysis for various times before kraft cooking. The degree of oxygen delignification, expressed as the HexA-corrected kappa number, indicated no significant trend with xylan removal, and no significant trend was evident when expressed as Klason lignin content. PDF
This paper puts forward a novel non-ionic augmentation system, namely, gelation of native starch in the presence of borax and papermaking fibers. Native starch was blended with high concentration pulp and auxiliary agents. After pasting, the starch gel adhered onto fiber surfaces. However, an excess dosage of agents led to a rigid structure and poor gel strength. Starch became gelatinized and then cross-linked by borax and cured as an adhesive layer through the process of pressing and drying under a high temperature. This provided close and uniform contact between starch and fibers. As a result, the strength of the paper was increased after forming. PDF
Activated carbon fibers were prepared from liquefied wood through stream activation. The effects of activation temperature and time on the microstructure and surface functional groups of the liquefied wood activated carbon fibers (LWACFs) were studied using analysis of burning behavior, X-ray diffraction, nitrogen adsorption-desorption isotherms, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and SEM. The results showed that the burn-off value of the LWACFs increased gradually with the increase in temperature or time. All the LWACFs were far from being structurally graphitized, and in general, as temperature or time increased, the degree of graphitization and thickness of crystal structure increased. In addition, the LWACFs possessed rich micropores, and their specific surface area, pore volume, micropore size, and mesopore quantity were directly related to the activation temperature or time. The maximum specific surface area was found to be 2641 m2/g. The fractal dimension values of all samples were close to 3, indicating that their surfaces were very rough. Furthermore, with an increase in temperature or time, the elemental content of carbon increased, while that of oxygen decreased. Meanwhile, as the temperature or time increased, the relative content of graphitic carbon decreased, whereas that of carbon bonded to oxygen-containing functions increased. The surface of samples prepared at higher temperature or with longer time formed a considerable amount of holes. PDF
The effect of the degree of deacetylation of chitosan on the chemical structure, thermal properties, and compatibility of chitosan/polyamide66 (CS/PA66) blends were investigated. Blends of CS with PA66 were prepared via the solution casting technique by using 85% formic acid. Structural interaction between PA66, CS, and CS/PA66 blends were analyzed by infrared spectroscopy. FT-IR spectra showed displacement of the carbonyl band of the amide group of chitosan toward smaller wave numbers, indicating possible existence of hydrogen bonding between the two macromolecules. Thermal and morphological behavior of films containing chitosan with degree of deacetylation (DD) ranging from 52.9% to 85% in the polymer blends were investigated by thermogravimetric analysis and scanning electron microscopy. Thermal analysis showed that the CS/PA66 blends became more thermally stable than pure chitosan. The morphological behavior observed by scanning electron microscopy indicated phase segregation in all types of blending. Acetyl content in chitosan was found to influence the degree of compatibility. Decreasing the acetyl group or increasing the DD of chitosan increases the compatibility of the CS/PA66 blends. PDF
As wood’s density increases, strength properties tend to increase due to a decrease in cavity volume. This study aimed to determine the effect of temperature levels in the densification process with an open-system thermomechanical method on the density, bending, modulus of elasticity in bending, compression, shear strength, and Brinell hardness in radial/tangential directions of Scots pine. The densification process significantly increased the strength properties of Scots pine. This increase stemmed from the decrease in the rate of cavities with the densification process, which also resulted in an increase in cell wall elements that have load-bearing properties per unit volume. An increase in densification temperature decreased strength properties. The decrease in the strength values can be explained by increasing chemical degradation with a rise in the temperature level. The most suitable temperature level was 120 ºC for a higher bending, shear, and compression strength, and it was 140 ºC for a higher radial and tangential hardness in the densification of Scots pine. Increases of 42% in the bending strength, 20% in the shear strength, 47% in the compression strength, 242% in the radial hardness, and 268% in the tangential hardness were obtained after densification. PDF
The emotional and psychological activities associated with the visual perception of macroscopic and microscopic structure patterns of wood were investigated. The macroscopic and microscopic structure patterns of 18 different timber tree species of northeast China were selected as the research objects, and these were divided into eight categories for event-related potential analysis. The 30 effective subjects’ tasks were to watch the wood structure stimuli patterns and evaluate them on a 7-point bipolar scale. The results showed that the emotional valence of the wood structure stimuli patterns of the eight categories evoked P2 and late positive potential (LPP) composition in a specific area of the brain. P2 refers to an early perception analysis processing for visual perception of the wood stimuli patterns, while LPP refers to late processing and reflects evaluations when people face different wood stimuli patterns. The results also indicated that people prefer to connect the understanding of macroscopic and microscopic patterns of wood with their own mood. Evaluation processing for macroscopic and microscopic structure patterns of wood were based on visual perception analyses, which were judged by personal feelings and decisions. People made active emotional assessments of the macroscopic and microscopic structure patterns of wood. PDF
Palanti, S., Feci, E., Predieri, G., and Francesca, V. (2012). "Copper complexes grafted to amino-functionalized silica gel as wood preservatives against fungal decay: Mini-blocks and standard test," BioRes. 7(4), 5611-5621.
Previous preliminary studies showed good efficacy of treatments based on a mixture of siloxane materials, functionalized with amino groups and coupled with copper, against the brown rot fungus Coniophora puteana (Palanti et al. 2011). In the present work, a one-step impregnation was performed on two sets of samples differing in size, in order to verify and compare the homogeneity of treatments. Leaching and resistance against brown rot and white rot fungi were also tested according to European standards EN 84 and EN 113, respectively. Furthermore, an accelerated test of efficacy against fungal decay was also used for determining the treatment efficacy. The obtained results made it possible to validate the findings of the preliminary study concerning resistance of the treated wood against C. puteana, while extending them to the white rot fungus Trametes versicolor. In contrast, no protection was conferred by the treatment against the copper-tolerant fungus Poria placenta. PDF
Cellulose nano-whiskers were used to enhance the performance of soybean meal-based adhesive. Soybean meal flour, cellulose nano-whiskers (CNW), sodium hydroxide (NaOH), and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were used to develop different adhesive formulations. The effect of adhesive components on water resistance of the adhesive was measured on the three-ply plywood (three cycle soak test). The viscosity and solid content of the adhesive were measured. The cross section of the cured adhesives was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The effect of the hot press parameters on the water resistance of the plywood bonded by soybean meal/CNW/NaOH/PEG adhesive was investigated. The results showed that using the CNW in the adhesive formulation improved the water resistance of the plywood by 20%. The plywood bonded by the soybean meal/CNW/NaOH/PEG adhesive met the interior plywood requirement (2000 (ANSI/HPVA HP-1)). Fewer holes and cracks, as well as a smooth surface were observed on the cross section of the cured adhesive after the incorporation of CNW. In the hot press process, the water resistance of the plywood bonded by the soybean meal/CNW/NaOH/PEG adhesive increased as the hot press temperature and time increased. PDF
A thermally fusible softwood lignin was directly isolated by a solvolysis of cedar wood chips with a mixture of polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) and sulfuric acid. Its fusibility was found to be due to a PEG moiety introduced into the lignin by the solvolysis. The lignin was easily formed into fibers by melt-spinning at temperatures ranging from 145 to 172 ºC without any modification. The lignin fibers could be converted into infusible fibers as a precursor for carbon fibers (CFs) by conventional oxidative thermal stabilization processing in air or a stream of oxygen for 2 days. We found that the infusible fibers resulted from the partial cleavage of the PEG moiety from the lignin fibers after treatment with 6 M hydrochloric acid at 100 ºC for 2 h. The infusible fibers were converted into CFs with a tensile strength of 450 MPa by carbonization at 1000 ºC under a N2 stream. PDF
Pai, C.-K., Wang, H.-T., Guo, R.-T., and Liu, J.-R. (2012). "The construction of bifunctional fusion xylanolytic enzymes and the prediction of optimum reaction conditions for the enzyme activity," BioRes. 7(4), 5647-5665.
Four chimeric xylanolytic enzymes were formed by fusion of a thermally stable xylanase XynCDBFV either to the N-terminus or C-terminus of a thermally stable acetylxylan esterase AxeS20E, with or without a Gly-rich flexible linker (S2). The three-dimensional (3D) structures of the chimeric enzymes were predicted using the I-TASSER server, and the results indicated that the structures of Axe-S2-Xyn and Xyn-S2-Axe were more similar to the native structures than were those of Axe-Xyn and Xyn-Axe. Axe-S2-Xyn and Xyn-S2-Axe were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by means of affinity chromatography. Response surface modeling (RSM), combined with central composite design (CCD) and regression analysis, was then employed to optimize the xylanase activities of the chimeric enzymes. Under the optimal conditions, Xyn-S2-Axe had greater hydrolytic activities on natural xylans and rice straw than did the parental enzymes. These results suggested that the chimeric enzyme Xyn-S2-Axe could be effective at hydrolyzing xylan in biomass and that it has potential to be used in a range of biotechnological applications. PDF
Cui, L., Pan, G., Li, L., Yan, J., Zhang, A., Bian, R., and Chang, A. (2012). "The reduction of wheat Cd uptake in contaminated soil via biochar amendment: A two-year field experiment," BioRes. 7(4), 5666-5676.
A field study involving wheat production was extended in order to study the effects of biochar (BC) amendment in paddy soil that had long-term contamination of Cd. The BC was used as an amendment in Cd-contaminated soil for its special property. BC was amended at rates of 10 to 40 t ha-1 during the rice season before rice transplantation in 2009. BC amendments increased soil pH by 0.11 to 0.24 and by 0.09 to 0.24 units, respectively, while the soil CaCl2-extracted Cd was reduced by 10.1% to 40.2% and by 10.0% to 57.0% in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Consequently, the total wheat Cd uptake was decreased by 16.8% to 37.3% and by 6.5% to 28.3%. Wheat grain Cd concentration was reduced by 24.8% to 44.2% and by 14.0% to 39.2% in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The BC application in soil reduced Cd phyto-availability in two wheat seasons possibly by raising soil pH and soil organic carbon (SOC). Therefore, BC may be used for soil remediation, but not to reduce Cd uptake to an adequate level for food production on Cd contaminated soils. PDF
This study investigates the effects of filler loading on the properties of rattan powder-filled polypropylene composites. The composites were prepared by incorporating rattan powder of average size 180 µm into polypropylene matrix using a Polydrive Thermo Haake internal mixer. Filler loadings of the rattan powders ranged between 0 and 40 parts per hundred parts of resin (phr). Mechanical, morphological, and thermal properties were studied. The tensile strength, elongation at tensile failure, and impact strength decreased, while stabilization torque, thermal stability, and water absorption increased with increasing filler loading. Tensile modulus increased with addition of rattan powder and eventually decreased at 40 phr filler loading due to the weakening adhesion between the filler and the matrix. The morphological studies of fractured surfaces using SEM confirmed the deterioration in tensile properties. PDF
Bamboo’s ability to grow on nutrient-poor soils, with little requirement of silvicultural management, easy harvesting characteristics, vegetative propagation, fast growth, and a host of other desirable characteristics, make it a good candidate as an energy crop. Energy crops are cultivated solely for use as sources of energy through their conversion into alcohols. This study set out to determine the potential of moso bamboo to be used in the two-stage organosolv and alkali pretreatment for the production of bioethanol. Moso bamboo contains 63.3% (w/w) holocellulose and can serve as a low-cost feedstock for bioethanol production. After organosolv pretreatment (2% w/w H2SO4 in 75% w/w ethanol, 160 °C for 30 min), the bamboo was further delignified through pretreatment of sodium hydroxide (10% and 20% w/w) or calcium hydroxide (10% w/w), which resulted in about 96.5% (NaOH) and 85.7% (Ca(OH)2) lignin removal. The enzymatic hydrolysis of deligniﬁed cellulosic bamboo substrate with cellulase (15 FPU/g glucan) and β-glucosidase (30 IU/g glucan) showed 80.9% to 95.5% sacchariﬁcation after 48 h incubation at 50 °C and pH 4.8. Fermentation of enzymatic hydrolysates with Saccharomyces cerevisiae resulted in about 89.1% to 92.0% of the corresponding theoretical ethanol yield after 24 h. PDF
Karlinasari, L., Hermawan, D., Maddu, A., Martianto, B., Lucky, I. K., Nugroho, N., and Hadi, Y. S. (2012). "Acoustical properties of particleboards made from Betung bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper) as building construction material," BioRes. 7(4), 5700-5709.
Acoustic panels are used to overcome noise problems; the purpose of this study was to determine the acoustical properties of particleboard made from Betung bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper). The acoustic parameters measured were the transmission loss (TL) value and sound absorption coefficient. Particleboards of two different densities (0.5 g/cm3 and 0.8 g/cm3) that were made with three particle sizes (fine, medium, and wool or excelsior) were used in this study. The sound TL value was measured in a reverberation room, while the sound absorption coefficient was determined using the impedance tube method. A single-number rating of sound transmission class (STC) was determined based on TL measurements. The results showed that sound TL and STC values of medium-density particleboard (0.8 g/cm3) were better than low-density (0.5 g/cm3) board. However, low-density particleboard performed well as sound absorber panels. Generally, the boards absorbed sound at low (< 500 Hz) and high frequency ranges (> 1000 Hz) and reflected sound at middle frequencies. The sound absorption coefficient was better with the fine- and medium-sized particles than with the wool size; meanwhile, boards made from wool- or excelsior-sized particles possessed higher TL and STC values. PDF
The safety of wood-plastic planks based on predicted modulus of rupture (MOR) is presented in this paper. Three different nondestructive testing (NDT) methods were used as checking tools for dynamic modulus of elasticity (MOE) of wood-plastic planks. The MOR was determined by a three-point bending test. The regression relationship between various dynamic MOE and MOR was evaluated to predict MOR of other identical wood-plastic planks. Furthermore, improved first-order second-moment (FOSM) method was used to analyze reliabilities based on measured and predicted MOR, and evaluate safety of them in service. Results indicated that reliabilities of other identical wood-plastic planks based on predicted and measured MOR were almost the same. The greatest difference between them was 0.01%; therefore, their reliability could be analyzed by predicted MOR. PDF
This study investigated carbohydrate dissolution during tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol/hydrochloric acid (THFA/HCl) pulping of rice straw, and reaction kinetics equations were derived. For both cellulose and hemicellulose fractions, dissolution during pulping could be separated into two phases. In the initial stage, or phase I, of cellulose dissolution, small amounts were solubilized. In phase II, when delignification reached a level of approximately 85%, along with increases in HCl concentration and cooking temperature, cellulose dissolution accelerated. The dissolution rate of hemicellulose also accelerated. However, the phase I dissolution rate was faster than the phase II rate. From the dissolution rates of carbohydrates (i.e., cellulose and hemicellulose), the activation energies and frequency factors were then calculated, and the reaction kinetic equations were derived. Comparing the experimental data with the predicted data, the pulp compositions, regardless of the contents of lignin, hemicellulose, or cellulose, all showed a high degree of correlation (R2 > 0.99), thus proving that the derived kinetic equations were applicable to the process rationalization of THFA/HCl pulping of rice straw and in the control of pulp chemical compositions. PDF
A cross-linked biomass-polymer composite with a lignin content of up to 60% was prepared by blending lignin with an epoxy resin and polyamine using a hot press molding process. The characteristics of the curing reaction of lignin with epoxy resin were studied using DSC and FTIR analysis. The effect of molding temperature and molding pressure on the mechanical properties and microstructure of the lignin/epoxy resin composite was also studied by SEM, DMA, and TG analyses. The results showed that the epoxy resin can be cured by lignin, and the curing temperature for the blends can be reduced by the introduction of a polyamine cure agent. The properties of the composite, such as bending strength, impact strength, glass-transition temperature, and thermal stability, were evidently influenced by the molding process. A good interfacial combination was formed between lignin and epoxy resin. Increasing the molding temperature and pressure proved beneficial to achieve a better interfacial combination for the composite, and the degree of ductile fracture was increased in the fracture surface of the composite. PDF
Saastamoinen, P., Mattinen, M.-L., Hippi, U., Nousiainen, P., Sipilä, J., Lille, M., Suurnäkki, A., and Pere, J. (2012). "Laccase aided modification of nanofibrillated cellulose with dodecyl gallate," BioRes. 7(4), 5749-5770.
Nanofibrillated cellulose, NFC, is an interesting wood fibre-based material that could be utilized in coatings, foams, composites, packages, dispersions, and emulsions, due to its high tensile strength and barrier properties, light weight, and stabilizing features. To improve applicability and properties of NFC, modification of its surface properties is often needed. In this study, the applicability of laccase-aided surface modification with hydrophobic dodecyl gallate (DOGA) on unbleached NFC was investigated. Also, laccase-catalyzed polymerization of DOGA and other phenolic compounds with lignin moieties was investigated by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS). NFC modified with T. hirsuta-based laccase and DOGA showed decreased hydrophilicity, as compared with the native NFC, when coated on a paper surface. When dried as free-standing films, the surface properties of chemo-enzymatically modified NFC resembled those of the native NFC. The effect of modification was thus greatly influenced by different surface formation in differently prepared samples. Also, changing of the dispersion properties of DOGA by enzymatic polymerization affected the surface properties of the dried NFC samples. Covalent bonding between DOGA and NFC was not the main factor affecting the surface properties of the NFC in free-standing films or coatings. PDF
Abdul Khalil, H. P. S., Rus Mahayuni, A. R., Bhat, I.-u.-H., Rudi, D., Almulali, M. Z., and Abdullah, C. K. (2012). "Characterization of various organic waste nanofillers obtained from oil palm ash," BioRes. 7(4), 5771-5780.
The byproducts of palm oil production (nut shells, fibers, and EFB) were combusted to obtain organic waste nanofillers. The prepared nano-filler was characterized by different techniques, viz. XRD for degree of crystallinity, particle size, morphology, and spectroscopic methods. The average diameter found was between 93.39 and 192.20 nm, and the width was between 18.17 and 43.45 nm. The SEM images revealed various morphological arrangements of particles. XRD studies exhibited crystalline nature of both the raw and ground nanofillers. The elemental analysis of nanofillers was carried out by EDX, and FT-IR was used to assign the degree of stretching of various functional groups. In addition to C, N, and O, elemental analysis revealed the presence of Al, Mg, Si, P, K, Ca, Fe, S, Ti, and Mn. PDF
Wavelet neural networks (WNNs) were used to investigate the influence of operational variables in the soda-ethanol pulping of oil palm fronds (viz. NaOH concentration (10-30%), ethanol concentration (15-75%), cooking temperature (150-190 ºC), and time (60-180 min)) on the resulting pulp and paper properties (viz. screened yield, kappa number, tensile index, and tear index). Performance assessments demonstrated the predictive capability of WNNs, in that the experimental results of the dependent variables with error less than 6% were reproduced, while satisfactory R-squared values were obtained. It thus corroborated the good fit of the WNNs model for simulating the soda-ethanol pulping process for oil palm fronds. PDF
Microstickies in whitewater have caused serious deterioration of paper quality and low efficiency of paper machine runnability. To solve this problem it is necessary to master the characteristics of various aspects of microstickies. In this study, the physicochemical properties and size distribution of microstickies in whitewater of three typical kinds of waste papers, old newspaper (ONP), old book paper (OBP), and mixed office wastepaper (MOW), were investigated by conventional methods and a modified Flow Cytometry Method (FCM). The results showed that white water microstickies in different kinds of waste paper have different characteristics. This is a premise for analyzing stickies problems. Furthermore, in a certain kind of waste paper, the physicochemical properties and the direct determination of size and number of microstickies particle in whitewater can be combined together and taken as a whole to account for more phenomena or deduce more mechanisms, such as agglomeration and deposition, etc. PDF
The maximum deformation and the stress state of furniture doors with different configurations of hinges were analyzed using finite element analysis with the ultimate purpose of optimizing the hinge configuration. The results showed that the maximum deformation decreased when the end distance ratio (Tp) also decreased. It was concluded that the end distance ratio (Tp) should not be greater than 1/8 when two hinges are mounted. The maximum deformation decreased when the number of mounted hinges was more than two. It is suggested that the number of mounted hinges is three when the dimensions of a furniture door are within normal values, considering the limitations in precision of processing and location. The maximum deformation was least when the middle hinge spacing ratio (Sp) was 1/3 and the mounting hinge number was four. The von Mises stress distribution was uniform within the door, and stress concentration only occurred in the vicinity of the mounted hinges. A material with high modulus of elasticity could contribute to minimizing the maximum deformation. PDF
Luo, Q., Peng, H., Zhou, M., Lin, D., Ruan, R., Wan, Y., Zhang, J., and Liu, Y. (2012). "Alkali extraction and physicochemical characterization of hemicelluloses from young bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens Mazel)," BioRes. 7(4), 5817-5828.
Two hemicellulose fractions were obtained by extraction of one-month- old young bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens Mazel). The fractionation procedure employed 2% NaOH as extractant, followed by filtration, acidification, precipitation, and washing with 70% ethanol solution. The total yield was 26.2%, based on the pentosan content in bamboo. The physicochemical properties were determined and sugar composition analysis showed that the hemicelluloses consisted mainly of xylose, arabinose, galactose, and a small amount of uronic acid. Furthermore, based on FT-IR and NMR spectra analyses, the structure of hemicelluloses was determined to be mainly arabinoxylans linked via (1→4)-β-glycosidic bonds with branches of arabinose and 4-O-methyl-D-glucuronic acid. The molecular weights were 6387 Da and 4076 Da, corresponding to the hemicelluloses HA and HB. Finally, the thermal stability was elucidated using the TG-DTG method. The obtained results can provide important information for understanding young bamboo and the hemicelluloses in it. PDF
Julian, F., Méndez, J. A., Espinach, F. X., Verdaguer, N., Mutje, P., and Vilaseca, F. (2012). "Bio-based composites from stone groundwood applied to new product development," BioRes. 7(4), 5829-5842.
This paper deals with the product design, engineering, and material selection intended for the manufacturing of an eco-friendly chair. The final product is expected to combine design attributes with technical and legal feasibility with the implementation of new bio-based materials. Considering the industrial design, a range of objectives and trends were determined after setting the market requirements, and the final concept was proposed and modeled. The product geometry, production technology, and legal specifications were the input data for product engineering. The material selection was based on the technical requirements. Polypropylene (PP) composite materials based on coupled-fiberglass, sized-fiberglass, and coupled-stone ground wood reinforcements were prepared and characterized. Final formulations based on these PP composites are proposed and justified. PDF
High-density wood is required in wood flooring, especially in engineered wood flooring (EWF) designed for heavy-duty applications. However, high-density wood resources are limited and their cost is high. A densification treatment makes it possible for low- or moderate-density woods to replace harder species by modifying them into high-performance and high-value products, such as engineered wood flooring for heavy-duty applications. The general objective of this study was to develop a prototype of engineered wood flooring using sugar maple hygro-thermally densified surface layers. The results showed that thin sugar maple lumber densified at 200 °C under the combined effects of steam, heat, and pressure with a heat-resistant fabric had great potential for the manufacturing of engineered wood flooring for heavy-duty use. As a result of treatment, it acquired high density, improved mechanical properties, and it had a relatively high dimensional stability and an attractive color. Tests in conditioning rooms showed that the EWF with a densified sugar maple (Acer saccharum March.) surface layer presented the lowest amplitude distortion between the dry and humid conditions compared with the standard EWF (0.15 mm vs. 0.17 mm and 0.25 mm). PDF
In this study, the impact bending strengths and specific impact bending strengths were determined for solid wood and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) produced from eucalyptus (Eucalyptus grandis W. Hill ex Maiden), poplar (Populus x euramericana I-214), and beech (Fagus orientalis L.) woods using urea formaldehyde (UF), melamine urea formaldehyde (MUF), and phenol formaldehyde (PF) adhesives. The tests were conducted in the flatwise and edgewise directions. In addition, specific impact bending strengths were calculated. Three-way ANOVA test results indicated that the effects of the species of tree and the direction of the load on the impact bending and specific impact bending were statistically significant. The type of adhesive was found to be insignificant. In addition, the results showed that impact bending strengths of solid beech and eucalyptus woods were greater than those of LVLs made of beech and eucalyptus, and no statistical differences were determined between solid poplar wood and LVL made of poplar. PDF
Sim, K., Youn, H. J., Cho, H., Shin, H., and Lee, H. L. (2012). "Improvements in pulp properties by alkali preextraction and subsequent kraft pulping with controlling H-factor and alkali charge," BioRes. 7(4), 5864-5878.
The objective of this study was to determine the processing conditions for obtaining improved pulp properties from the kraft pulping process with an alkali pre-extraction stage. Before the kraft pulping, a pre-extraction of hemicelluloses from mixed hardwood chips was performed with two different alkali concentrations (3% and 12% as Na2O) at 150 °C for 90 minutes. The kraft pulping of the pre-extracted chips was then conducted in two ways: with either the H-factor alone controlled or with both the H-factor and the alkali charge controlled. When the chips were pre-extracted with the 3% alkali charge and with the kraft pulping controlled to an H-factor of 500, the yield and properties of the pulp were higher than those of the reference kraft pulp. The 12% alkali pre-extraction and kraft pulping resulted in a low yield of screened pulp. However, when the alkali charge and the H-factor were adjusted together, the pulp yield remained constant and the pulp properties improved in comparison to the reference pulp for both the 3 and 12% cases. PDF
Liu, H., Wang, L., Sun, Z., Pang, L., Jia, M., Wu, S., Sun, X., Hao, L., Gao, S., Jia, S., and Jia, L. (2012). "Production and antioxidant activity of intracellular polysaccharide by Hypsizigus marmoreus SK-01," BioRes. 7(4), 5879-5893.
The extraction parameters of intracellular polysaccharide (IPS) from Hypsizigus marmoreus SK-01 mycelia were optimized, and the antioxidant activities of IPS were investigated. The optimum conditions of IPS extraction were predicted to be: an ultrasonic treatment time of 618.07 s, an extraction temperature of 84.53 °C, a pH of 7.57, and an IPS yield of ca. 6.84%. The in vitro inhibition effects of IPS on hydroxyl, superoxide anion, and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals were 52.63 ± 3.19%, 68.21 ± 5.09%, and 63.43 ± 5.27%, respectively, and the EC50 values of IPS were 0.85 ± 0.05 g/L, 0.47 ± 0.03 g/L, and 0.62 ± 0.04 g/L, respectively. The activities of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) in mice blood were 2.52 ± 0.02 U/mL, 453.19 ± 38.43 U/mL, and 118.59 ± 9.64 U/mL, respectively. The results provide a reference for large-scale extraction of IPS by H. marmoreus SK-01 in industrial fermentation, suggesting that IPS can be used as a potential antioxidant that enhances adaptive immune responses. PDF
Wang, J., Wei, P., Liu, P., and Sun, W. (2012). "Identifying appropriate conditions for producing spindle-like causticizing precipitated calcium carbonate for paper filler applications," BioRes. 7(4), 5894-5903.
Causticizing precipitated calcium carbonate (CPCC) as a by-product of the green liquor causticizing process can be used as paper filler to save resources and reduce costs. In this study, CPCC was prepared with green liquor and quicklime, which were obtained from an alkali recovery line of a paper mill. The factors influencing crystal morphology of CPCC, such as slaking temperature, slaking time, and causticizing time were investigated. The morphology of CPCC was observed and analyzed for optimizing reaction conditions. The following were compared: properties of CPCC obtained in this study, conventional CPCC (white mud) from a paper mill, and commercial PCC as fillers. The results showed that slaking time and causticizing time were important for morphology control. Spindle-like and rod-like CPCC obtained in this study had better drainability and retention, higher paper bulk, opacity, and physical strength compared to conventional CPCC, and had nearly the same performances as commercial PCC. PDF
Ferrández-García, C. E., Andreu-Rodríguez, J., Ferrández-García, M. T., Ferrández-Villena, M., and García-Ortuño, T. (2012). "Panels made from giant reed bonded with non-modified starches," BioRes. 7(4), 5904-5916.
Panels were made from Arundo donax L. particles bonded with different non-modified starches as adhesive without chemical additives by hot-pressing at a low temperature (110 ºC) and pressure (2.6 N/mm2). The experimental panels were tested for their physical and mechanical properties according to the procedures defined by the European Union (EN) Standard. The microstructure of samples was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Panels manufactured with potato starch had the highest modulus of rupture and modulus of elasticity, meeting the standard for load bearing (grade P4 for indoor use in dry ambient) (EN 312: 2003). Panels made with corn starch and wheat flour, at a 10% level and three pressing cycles met the standard for general uses (grade P1). Panel bonded with rye bran flour achieved the best internal bond strentgh. The water resistance was poor and needs to be improved. PDF
Typha capensis (TC), a highly prolific, invasive grass found in many parts of the world, is a common pest that grows in waterways, but it may be a good lignocellulosic substrate for bioethanol production. Sulfuric acid-catalyzed ethanol organosolv pretreatment was used to investigate the possibility of harnessing the benefits of both fermentable sugars and lignin by reacting at varying defined severity levels. It was observed that TC polysaccharides were particularly susceptible to hydrolysis, which was associated with the formation of a large amount of pseudo-lignin due to the degradation of sugars. Pseudo-lignin had a negative impact on enzymatic hydrolysis. At optimal conditions, the process enabled the fractionation of TC into glucan-rich solid fractions with enhanced digestibility, recovery of organosolv lignin, and easily hydrolysable hemicellulose sugars in the liquid stream of pretreatment analytes. About 68.33% of the glucan in the raw TC was recovered, and 85.23% fermentable sugars from water-soluble and enzyme-hydrolyzed pulp were attained. Up to 67% of the initial lignin in TC was extracted as ethanol organosolv lignin (EOL). PDF
Phitsuwan, P., Morag, E., Tachaapaikoon, C., Pason, P., Kosugi, A., and Ratanakhanokchai, K. (2012). "Behavior and supportive evidence of a large xylanase-containing multienzyme complex of Tepidimicrobium xylanilyticum BT14," BioRes. 7(4), 5934-5949.
Cellular behaviors and a xylanolytic-cellulolytic enzyme system of Tepidimicrobium xylanilyticum BT14 towards xylan-rich plant biomass degradation were characterized. During the exponential growth phase, the bacterial cells were bound tightly to the growth substrate where the degradation zones appeared mostly around the cells, indicating that the xylanolytic-cellulolytic enzyme system was linked to the cell surfaces. Interestingly, several cells appeared to secrete extracellular matrix to connect to their neighbors, and the matrix disappeared when cells passed to the stationary growth phase. Cationized-ferritin staining resulted in a dense assembly of bulbs, protuberance-like structures on the growing bacterial cell surfaces. The cell-associated proteins derived by sonication contained predominated xylanase with relatively low carboxymethyl-cellulase (CMCase) activities, suggesting that the xylanolytic-cellulolytic enzyme system occurred as a cell-associated enzyme. By means of gel-filtration chromatography, a high molecular mass protein with the estimated size of 2000 kDa was retrieved from the cell-associated enzymes, and it appeared as a single protein band on non-denaturing gel. However, more bands were obtained after the protein was boiled with sodium dodecyl sulfate and β-mercaptoethanol – which contained 4 xylanases and one CMCase – suggesting that these proteins were organized as a multienzyme complex (MEC) in natural form. Additionally, the predominated xylanolytic MEC preferred binding to cellulose rather than xylan. PDF
A heterogeneous process for the hydrolysis of bamboo into reducing sugars, a process catalyzed by biomass char sulfonic acids (BC-SO3Hs), was carried out under microwave irradiation. This transformation technology was nearly ineffective with regards to the hydrolysis of fresh bamboo because of the impeding lignin that was wrapped around the cellulose, but the hydrolysis proceeded efficiently when the hemicellulose, and especially the lignin in bamboo, were partly removed through pretreatment with an aqueous ZnCl2 solution under microwave irradiation. The BC-SO3H catalyst bearing –SO3H, OH, and COOH groups showed much higher turnover numbers (TON, 0.64 to 1.07) for the hydrolysis of the pretreated bamboo than did the dilute H2SO4 solution (TON, 0.08). This is likely due to its strong affinity for b-1,4-glycosidic bonds of cellulose. The microwave irradiation resulted in much higher hydrolytic efficiency than did conventional heating. This likely resulted from the microwave irradiation’s unique role in activating the cellulose molecules and heightening particle collisions, effects that can remarkably accelerate this process of heterogeneous catalysis. PDF
This paper demonstrates the preparation of transparent biocomposites from chitin nanofiber using a series of simple mechanical treatments after the removal of proteins and minerals. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) images show that the prepared chitin nanofibers are highly uniform with a width of less than 50 nm and a high aspect ratio. Due to the nano-size, the fibers are small enough to retain the transparency of the neat polymethylmethacrylate resin. Light transmission of the obtained chitin/PMMA biocomposite was 90.2%, in comparison to the neat resin, which was 92.6%. Mechanical property tests showed that chitin nanofibers significantly improved the tensile strengths and Young’s modulus of the neat PMMA, which increased from 43.8 MPa to 102 MPa and 1.6 GPa to 3.43 GPa, respectively. PMMA resin was found to be well dispersed in the biocomposite and had little effect on the tensile properties of the material. The properties mentioned above qualify the chitin nanofiber as a green and high-performance candidate having potential to be applied in next-generation optical electronic and building systems as a commercially available material. PDF
Ethyl levulinate (EL) can be produced from bio-based levulinic acid (LA) and ethanol. Experimental investigations were conducted to evaluate and compare the performances and exhaust emission levels of ethyl levulinate as an additive to conventional diesel fuel, with EL percentages of 5%, 10%, 15% (with 2% n-butanol), and 20% (with 5% n-butanol), in a horizontal single-cylinder four stroke diesel engine. Brake-specific fuel consumptions of the EL-diesel blends were about 10% higher than for pure diesel because of the lower heating value of EL. NOx and CO2 emissions increased with engine power with greater fuel injections, but varied with changing EL content of the blends. CO emissions were similar for all of the fuel formulations. Smoke emissions decreased with increasing EL content. PDF
Md Yunos, N. S. H., Samsu Baharuddin, A., Md Yunos, K. F., Naim, M. N., and Nishida, H. (2012). "Physicochemical property changes of oil palm mesocarp fibers treated with high-pressure steam," BioRes. 7(4), 5983-5994.
High-pressure steam treatment (HPST) is a potential alternative method for the modification of lignocellulosic materials. The effect of HPST on oil palm mesocarp fibers (OPMF) was successfully investigated with treatment conditions of 170 ºC/ 0.82 MPa, 190 ºC/ 1.32 MPa, 210 ºC/ 2.03 MPa, and 230 ºC/ 3.00 MPa for 2 min. treatment time. Significant changes in the colour, smell, and mechanical properties of the samples were observed after the treatment. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images revealed changes in the surface morphology of the OPMF after the pretreatment. The degradation of hemicelluloses and changes in the functional groups of the lignocellulosic components were identified using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and Thermogravimetric (TG) analysis. These results suggest that HPST is a promising method for the pretreatment of OPMF. PDF
This review will focus on recent progress regarding the mechanisms of light-induced discoloration of mechanical and chemimechanical pulps and on the proposed preventive treatments. It is evident that the mechanisms behind photoyellowing of lignin-rich pulps are complex and that several types of reaction pathways may coexist. Photoyellowing proceeds via one initial fast phase and a slower following phase. The fast phase has been ascribed to oxidation of free phenolic groups and/or hydroquinones and catechols to photoproducts of mainly quinonoid character. A multitude of reactions involving several lignin subunits are possible. Important intermediates are phenoxyl radicals, and to some extent ketyl radicals. The importance of the phenacyl aryl ether pathway might be more important than previously thought, even though the original content of such groups is low in lignin. Even though many preventive methods against photoyellowing have been suggested, no cost-efficient treatment is available to hinder photoreversion of lignin-containing paper permanently. Suggested methods for stabilization include chemical modification (etherification and esterification), coating the paper product, addition of radical scavengers, excited state quenchers, or ultraviolet absorbing compounds. PDF
This review describes the role of wood extractives, especially fatty and resin acids, in papermaking, as well as the importance of their removal from process waters. One of the main aims is also to illustrate versatile analysis methods for this purpose and highlight recent developments in corresponding applications. Most of the current methods require time-consuming and laborious sample pretreatment procedures prior to gas chromatography coupled either with flame ionization or mass selective detection. However, some faster, even online techniques with minimum sample pretreatment, are also available, mainly including high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The advantages and disadvantages of all analytical procedures are briefly discussed. PDF
This review summarizes the proposed mechanisms for irreversible coalescence of cellulose microfibrils within fibers during various common industrial treatments for chemical pulp fibers as well as the methods to evaluate it. It is a phenomenon vital for cellulose accessibility but still under considerable debate. The proposed coalescence mechanisms include irreversible hydrogen bonding. Coalescence is induced by high temperature and by the absence of obstructing molecules, such as water, hemicelluloses, and lignin. The typical industrial processes, in the course of which nano-scale coalescence and possible aggregation of cellulose microfibrillar elements occurs, are drying and chemical pulping. Coalescence reduces cellulose accessibility and therefore, in several instances, the quality of cellulose as a raw material for novel products. The degree of coalescence also affects the processing and the quality of the products. For traditional paper-based products, the loss of strength properties is a major disadvantage. Some properties lost during coalescence can be restored to a certain extent by, e.g., beating. Several factors, such as charge, have an influence on the intensity of the coalescence. The evaluation of the phenomenon is commonly conducted by water retention value measurements. Other techniques, such as deuteration combined with FTIR spectroscopy, are being applied for better understanding of the changes in cellulose accessibility. PDF
Hubbe, M. A., Sundberg, A., Mocchiutti, P., Ni, Y., and Pelton, R. (2012). "Dissolved and colloidal substances (DCS) and the charge demand of papermaking process waters and suspensions: A Review," BioRes. 7(4), 6109-6193.
Dissolved and colloidal substances (DCS) in the process waters of paper machine systems can interfere with the retention of fine particles, retard the drainage of water from the wet web, and generally hurt the intended functions of various polyelectrolytes that are added to the process. This review considers publications that have attempted to characterize the nature and effects of different DCS fractions, in addition to some of the ways that paper technologists have attempted to overcome related problems. The consequences of DCS in a paper machine system can be traced to their ability to form complexes with various polyelectrolytes. Such tendencies can be understood based on a relatively strong complexing ability of multivalent materials, depending on the macromolecular size and charge density. Continuing research is needed to more fully understand the different contributions to cationic demand in various paper machine systems and to find more efficient means of dealing with DCS. PDF