NC State
  • Researchpp 209-219Dobreva, D., Nenkova, S., and Vasileva, St. (2006). "Morphology and mechanical properties of polypropylene-wood flour composites," BioRes. 1(2), 209-219.AbstractPDF

    The microstructure and mechanical properties of polymer composites based on polypropylene and wood flour modified with monochloroacetic acid were investigated. Scanning electron microscopy and wide-angle X-ray diffraction were used as methods to probe the composite microstructures, while the tensile test was used to measure the physical strength. The wood flour modification was performed at different levels of monochloroacetic acid, ranging from 0.01 to 1 mol, while the modified wood flour was used as filler for polypropylene at 10, 20 and 30 wt.-%. It was found that increasing the monochloroacetic acid fraction influences the microstructure of the composites and leads to more homogeneous products. The introduction of non-modified wood flour decreases the polypropylene crystallization degree, but it improves after introduction of monochloroacetic acid. Physical-mechanical tests showed positive effects on tensile tests and Charpy notched impact strength. The new composites appear to be promising materials for construction purposes.

  • Researchpp 220-232Abdul Khalil, H. P. S., Siti Alwani, M., and Mohd Omar, A. K. (2006). "Chemical composition, anatomy, lignin distribution, and cell wall structure of Malaysian plant waste fibers," BioRes. 1(2), 220-232.AbstractPDF

    The chemical composition, anatomical characteristics, lignin distribution, and cell wall structure of oil palm frond (OPF), coconut (COIR), pine-apple leaf (PALF), and banana stem (BS) fibers were analyzed. The chemical composition of fiber was analyzed according to TAPPI Methods. Light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to observe and determine the cell wall structure and lignin distribution of various agro-waste fibers. The results revealed differences in anatomical characteristics, lignin distributions, and cell wall structure of the different types of fibers investigated. Nevertheless, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) micrographs have confirmed that the well wall structure, in each case, could be described in terms of a classical cell wall structure, consisting of primary (P) and secondary (S 1 , S 2 , and S 3 ) layers.

  • Researchpp 233-247Gruver, T. M., and Brown, N. R. (2006). "Penetration and performance of isocyanate wood binders on selected wood speciels," BioRes. 1(2), 233-247.AbstractPDF

    The penetration and performance of polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate (pMDI) wood binder was investigated according to three factors: substrate species (aspen, yellow-poplar, or southern yellow pine); anatomical bonding plane (radial or tangential); and moisture content (0%, 5%, or 12%). Compression shear block tests and fluorescence microscopy were used to examine bond performance and resin penetration. Statistically, each of the aforementioned factors impacted results. As moisture content increased, observed bond strengths and wood failure increased. Bond formation did not occur when the substrates were equilibrated to 0% moisture content, except for the radial bonding surfaces of pine, which did adhere. At 5 and 12% moisture contents, tangential bonding surfaces out-performed radial bonding surfaces. In terms of resin penetration, moisture content was clearly the most important variable. Little penetration was observed at 0% moisture content, while extensive resin penetration was observed at elevated moisture contents. Pine was the only wood species to exhibit resin flow through radial cells, possibly explaining the enhanced resin penetration depths observed in pine samples.

  • Researchpp 248-256Liang, L., Mao, Z., Li, Y., Wan, C., Wang, T., Zhang, L., and Zang, L. (2006). "Liquefaction of crop residues for polyol production," BioRes. 1(2), 248-256.AbstractPDF

    The liquefaction of crop residues in the presence of ethylene glycol, ethylene carbonate, or polyethylene glycol using sulfuric acid as a catalyst was studied. For all experiments, the liquefaction was conducted at 160 ° C and atmospheric pressure. The mass ratio of feedstock to liquefaction solvents used in all the experiments was 30:100. The results show that the acid catalyzed liquefaction process fit a pseudo-first-order kinetics model. Liquefaction yields of 80, 74, and 60% were obtained in 60 minutes of reaction when corn stover was liquefied with ethylene glycol, a mixture of polyethylene glycol and glycerol (9:1, w/w), and ethylene carbonate, respectively. When ethylene carbonate was used as solvent, the liquefaction yields of rice straw and wheat straw were 67% and 73%, respectively, which is lower than that of corn stover (80%). When a mixture of ethylene carbonate and ethylene glycol (8:2, w/w) was used as solvent, the liquefaction yields for corn stover, rice straw and wheat straw were 78, 68, and 70%, respectively.

  • Researchpp 257-269Huang, C. B., Jeng, R., Sain, M., Saville, B. A., and Hubbes, M. (2006). "Production, characterization, and mechanical properties of starch modified by Ophiostoma spp.," BioRes. 1 (2), 257-269.AbstractPDF

    Microbial modification of starch with Ophiostoma spp . was investigated, with the purpose of developing a novel packaging material for the food or pharmaceutical industries. Various starch sources, such as tapioca, potato, corn, rice and amylopectin were tested as raw materials. The initial screening demonstrated that tapioca and potato starch had better performance for biopolymer production. The yield was about 85%. Preliminary characterization of the modified biopolymer was also conducted. Following microbial conversion, the percentage of molecules with at least a Mw of 10M Daltons increased from 25% to 89% after 3 days, confirming that the modification increased the weight of the starch polymer. Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) revealed changes in the chemical structure of the starch after the modification. Both pure starches and the modified biopolymers were cast into films and tested for mechanical properties. The tensile tests showed that after treatment with the fungus, the peak stress and modulus of the films increased about 10 and 40 times, respectively. Also, the water barrier property was improved. Therefore, microbial modification positively impacted proper-ties relevant to the proposed application s . Although the role of the fungus in the modification and the function-property relationship of the biopolymer are not yet completely clear, the results of this study show promise for development of a novel biopolymer that competes with existing packaging materials.

  • Researchpp 3 - 19Bi, W., and Coffin, D. W. (2007). "Racking strength of paperboard based sheathing materials," BioRes. 2(1), 3-19.AbstractPDF
    Small-scale racking testers were developed for use as a means to evaluate paperboard-based sheathing materials used in framed wall-construction. For the purpose of evaluating the performance of different sheathing materials, the tester provides an economic alternative to standard full-scale racking tests. In addition, results from testing provide practical insight into the racking response of framed and sheathed walls. The load-deformation responses of three commercial sheathing boards were measured, and initial racking stiffness and racking strength were proposed as parameters for characterizing the board. The racking test results showed that the initial paperboard racking stiffness correlated to elastic modulus and caliper, but the response was insensitive to paperboard orientation or test dimensions. Observations and results showed that both panel buckling and paperboard cutting at the staples affected the racking response, but the dominating factor influencing the racking response appears to be load transfer through the staples.
  • Researchpp 20-33Lee, J. M., Heitmann, J. A., and Pawlak, J. J. (2007). "Rheology of carboxymethyl cellulose solutions treated with cellulases," BioRes. 2(1), 20-33.AbstractPDF
    The effect of cellulase treatments on the rheology of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) solutions was studied using a rotational viscometer. The rheological behaviors of CMC solutions of different molecular mass and degrees of substitution where studied as a function of time after various treatments. These solutions were subjected to active and heat-denatured cellulase, a cationic polyelectrolyte (C-PAM), as well as different shear rates. A complex protein-polymer interaction was observed, leading to a potential error source in the measurement of enzymatic activity by changes in the intrinsic viscosity. The interaction was termed a polymeric effect and defined as a reduction in viscosity of the substrate solution without significant formation of reducing sugars from enzymatic hydrolysis. The cause of the reduction in viscosity appears to be related to the interaction between the enzymes as amphipathic particles and the soluble CMC. Thus, the polymeric effect may cause a considerable experimental error in the measurement of enzymatic activity by viscometric methods.
  • Researchpp 34-40Boeva-Spiridonova, R., Petkova, E., Georgieva, N., Yotova, L., and Spiridonov, I. (2007). "Utilization of a chemical-mechanical pulp with improved properties from poplar wood in the composition of packing papers," BioRes. 2(1), 34-40AbstractPDF
    The aim of the present work is to obtain a chemical-mechanical pulp (CMP) from poplar wood with improved properties, to be used in packing papers in place of more expensive softwood or hardwood pulp. For improving the CMP quality indicators, a preliminary treatment of the pulp has been carried out with a mixture of oxidizing enzymes produced from Phanerochaete chrysosporium, including lignin peroxidase, manganese peroxidase, and laccase. The two types of fiber materials obtained were double-stage bleached and then ground to 30oSR. It was found that preliminary enzyme treatment yielded CMP with improved physical, mechanical, and optical properties. The enzyme-pretreated CMP also refined faster, thus reducing the electricity consumption. Bleached CMP from poplar wood, obtained after preliminary enzyme treatment, could be successfully utilized at levels up to 40% in the composition of various packaging papers.
  • Researchpp 41-57Bodirlau, R., Spiridon, I., and Teaca, C. A. (2007). "Chemical investigation of wood tree species in a temperate forest east-northern Romania," BioRes. 2(1), 41-57.AbstractPDF
    A quantitative evaluation of wood chemical components for some tree species in a forest area from east-northern Romania is presented here, through a comparative study from 1964 to 2000. Investigation upon the wood tree-rings in a Quercus robur L. tree species, as a dominant species, as regards its chemical composition and structure of the natural polymer constituents - celluloseandlignin - was also performed through chemical methods to separate the main wood components, FT-IR spectroscopy, and thermogravimetry. Having in view the impact of climate and external factors (such as pollutant depositions), some possible correlations between wood chemical composition and its further use can be made. The FT-IR spectra give evidence of differences in the frequency domains of 3400-2900 cm-1 and 1730-1640 cm-1, due to some interactions between the chemical groups (OH, C=O). The crystallinity index of cellulose presents variations in the oak wood tree-rings. Thermogravimetry analyses show different behaviour of cellulose at thermal decomposition, as a function of radial growth and tree’s height. A preliminary chemical investigation of oak wood sawdust shows a relatively high content of mineral elements (ash), compared with a previous study performed in 1964, fact that may indicate an intense drying process of the oak tree, a general phenomenon present in European forests for this species.
  • Researchpp 58-65Betcheva, R. I., Hadzhiyska, H. A., Georgieva, N. V., and Yotova, L. K. (2007). "Biobleaching of flax by degradation of lignin with laccase," BioRes. 2(1), 58-65.AbstractPDF
    Research on lignin biodegradation has become of great interest, due to the fact that lignin is one of the most abundant renewable materials, next to cellulose. Lignin is also the substance that gives color to raw flax fibers. In order to bleach the flax and to keep its tenacity high enough for textile applications, it is necessary to remove the lignin and partially to preserve the pectin. Lignin and pectin are the main constituents of the layer which sticks the flax cells together within the multicellular technical fiber. White-rot fungi and their oxidative enzymes, laccases and peroxid-ases (lignin peroxidases and manganese peroxidases), are being applied for the biobleaching of papermaking pulp, thereby reducing the need for environmentally harmful chemicals. Some data also suggest that it is possible to use other phenolytic enzymes, such as pure laccase, for this purpose. The objective of the present work was to study the possibility of bleaching flax fibers by pure laccase and combined laccase peroxide treatment, aimed at obtaining fibers with high whiteness and well-preserved tenacity.