In order to improve dimensional stability and durability of wood, furfurylation of poplar and Chinese fir wood using newly developed furfuryl alcohol (FA) formulation combined with a common vacuum and pressure impregnation process was studied. An orthogonal experiment was designed to optimize the furfurylation process for the two wood species. The weight percent gain (WPG), equilibrium moisture content (EMC), anti-swelling efficiency (ASE), modulus of rupture (MOR), modulus of elasticity (MOE), as well as resistance to mold, decay fungi, and termites were evaluated. The results showed that nearly all the properties of the furfurylated wood could be improved to various extents. The average ASE of the furfurylated Chinese fir and poplar could reach as high as 80, 71, 92% and 79, 90, 75% in tangential and radial directions, and by volume, respectively, higher than most previously reported wood modification processes. Furthermore, the modified wood had excellent biological durability, with nearly 100% mold resistance, strong decay and termite resistance. Finally, processing parameters with 50% FA, 105–115 °C curing temperature, and 5–8 h curing time were therefore recommended for pilot-scale production of furfurylated poplar and Chinese fir wood based on range analysis.
With the increasing application of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) films in the field of food packaging, it is important to improve its mechanical and antibacterial properties. This paper focuses on the preparation of PVA nanocomposite films and how their properties are affected by a silver-loaded nanocellulose solution. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were used as both the carrier and the dispersant of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) prepared using glucose as the reducing agent. Ag+ was stabilized by the many hydroxyl groups located in the CNCs, and then the Ag+ was reduced to AgNPs in situ. After addition of silver-loaded nanocellulose, the tensile strength of the CNC-PVA-AgNP films increased from 47 MPa to 73 MPa, and the nanocomposite films displayed reduced moisture absorption and good antibacterial properties.
Modification techniques have been widely employed to improve cellulose properties, thus increasing the diversity of industrial applications. While wood pulp cellulose is the most common source for industrial production, little has been studied about the effects of the cellulose source and its purity on modification. Therefore, this article investigates the influence of cellulose source (e.g. wood or cotton) on its modification (acetylation), by estimating the obtained degree of substitution (DS) through Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR), proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) and back titration. The intense reduction in samples’ crystallinity after acetylation was a result of breakage of inter- and intra-molecular hydrogen bonds, thus confirming acetylation. Although Avicel showed the highest cellulose content and was virtually free of hemicellulose and lignin, this did not affect the acetylation degree, as all samples were successfully triacetylated. The techniques used in this study were ideal for detecting acetylation and estimating the DS, which makes them good tools for modification studies of cellulose derivatives.
To achieve efficient utilization of compression wood (CW), a deeper insight into the molecular interactions is necessary. In particular, the role of lignin in the wood needs to be better understood, especially concerning how lignin contributes to its mechanical properties. For this reason, the properties of CW and normal wood (NW) from Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) have been studied on a molecular scale by means of polarized Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, under both static and dynamic loading conditions. Under static tensile loading, only molecular deformations of cellulose were observed in both CW and NW. No participation of lignin could be detected. In relation to the macroscopic strain, the molecular deformation of the cellulose C-O-C bond was greater in NW than in CW as a reflection of the higher microfibril angle and the lower load taken up by CW. Under dynamic deformation, a larger contribution of the lignin to stress transfer was detected in CW; the molecular deformation of the lignin being highly related to the amplitude of the applied stress. Correlation analysis indicated that there was a direct coupling between lignin and cellulose in CW, but there was no evidence of such a direct coupling in NW.
Defoliating insects damage forest plantations, but the estimation of their losses does not take into account wood quality changes. The objective was to evaluate the wood quality and pulp production of two clones of Eucalyptus grandis × Eucalyptus urophylla (clone A) and Eucalyptus saligna (clone B) damaged or not by defoliating insects. Five healthy trees and five attacked by Gonipterus platensis Marelli (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) were selected per clone. The wood volume per hectare in the affected settlements was at least 9% lower and damaged trees showed lower wood basic density, with at least 4.6%. The lignin and extractive content in the wood increased by at least 5.6 and 45%, respectively, while the syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) ratio remained constant for clone A and increased 10% for clone B. For pulps, an increased effective alkali and decreased pulp yield were experienced for both clones while bleaching or pulp quality was not affected. In the stands affected by defoliating insects, productivity was 9 and 19% lower considering the wood volume per hectare and 15 and 24% considering the cellulose pulp production per hectare, respectively.
In this study, poplar chemi-mechanical pulp was used as a raw material to investigate the effect of enzymatic hydrolysis lignin (EHL) content on the tensile strength and hydrophobicity of molded fiber materials (MFMs). The tensile strength and hydrophobic properties of the fabricated MFMs with different EHL contents were evaluated, and changes in their microstructure, chemical structure, and thermal stability were characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric (TG) analysis, respectively. Results show that under the experimental conditions used herein, the addition of EHL could increase the tensile strength and surface water contact angle of MFMs up to 20.3 MPa and 95.0°, respectively. The SEM observations indicate that the addition of EHL expanded the contact area between the EHL and fibers, thereby reducing the holes between fibers. The FTIR and TG analyses indicated that hot-pressing degraded EHL to form small molecular substances and improved the reaction with aldehydes produced via carbohydrate degradation, improving both the inter-fiber bonding strength and hydrophobicity of the MFM surface.
This study analyzed the effect that pulp fibers have on the surface softness component of hygiene paper. The surface softness component has more of an influence on the evaluation of subjective softness results than the bulk softness component. Using the surface softness measurement technique, this study aimed to evaluate the effect that fibers have on the softness of hygiene paper substrate via objective numerical values to measure the surface softness component of hand sheets composed of various pulp species. The results indicate that coarseness effects had the largest effect on softness among the various fiber characteristics, such as average fiber length, width and coarseness. As fiber coarseness increased, a rough surface formed, which resulted in an increase in the mean deviation from the average friction (MMD). Nonwood fibers had long fiber length and low coarseness, which enables the production of hygiene paper with high strength and softness. This study hopefully could lead to the development of various process technologies that may improve the softness of hygiene paper products.
Fast-growing wood is an abundant and low-cost material and is widely used for structural building and furniture construction. However, inferior mechanical properties and dimensional instability limit its application in advanced engineering structures. Herein, we developed a simple, effective and “green” method to transform bulk poplar into a high-performance wood composite. The wood composite was prepared by the impregnation of the itaconic acid (IA) solution acting as a grafting anchor into the wood matrix, followed by in situ polymerization of styrene upon heating to form a hydrophobic polymer within the wood scaffold. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis revealed that hydrophobic polystyrene (PS) was deposited in wood cell walls and lumens, leading to a reduced water uptake and remarkably enhanced dimensional stability, as well as generally improved mechanical properties. In addition, the PS generated improvement in the thermal stability of the wood composite in comparison with that of natural wood (W).
Cryptocarya species are mainly distributed in Africa, Asia, Australia and South America, widely used in traditional medicines for the treatment of skin infections and diarrhea. The present investigation reports on the extraction by hydrodistillation and the chemical composition of three Cryptocarya species (Cryptocarya impressa, Cryptocarya infectoria, and Cryptocarya rugulosa) essential oils from Malaysia. The chemical composition of these essential oils was fully characterized by gas chromatography (GC-FID) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). A total of 51 components were identified in C. impressa, C. infectoria, and C. rugulosa essential oils representing 91.6, 91.4, and 83.0% of the total oil, respectively. The high percentages of α-cadinol (40.7%) and 1,10-di-epi-cubenol (13.4%) were found in C. impressa oil. β-Caryophyllene (25.4%) and bicyclogermacrene (15.2%) were predominate in C. infectoria oil. While in C. rugulosa oil, bicyclogermacrene (15.6%), δ-cadinene (13.8%), and α-copaene (12.3%) were predominate. To the best of our knowledge, there is no report on the essential oil composition of these three species.