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Grünewald, T., Grigsby, W., Tondi, G., Ostrowski, S., Petutschnigg, A., and Wieland, S. (2013). "Chemical characterization of wood-leather panels by means of 13C NMR spectroscopy," BioRes. 8(2), 2442-2452.


Intelligent resource usage is one of the most challenging tasks for the wood-based panels industry. With respect to this issue, leather shavings, derived during leather preparation, are a promising new raw material, as they offer not only high availability, but also potentially enhance material properties such as panel fire retardancy. In order to improve the performance of these emerging panel binder materials, an understanding of chemical interactions between the different constituents is crucial. This paper investigates the chemical changes that occur during hot-pressing of wood and leather in combination with lignin by means of solid state 13C NMR spectroscopy. These constituents, their binary mixtures, and the influences of panel pressing temperature and pressure commonly used in panel production were investigated. The study showed characteristic chemistry and features of these constituents, quantifying the impacts of both heat and pressure on their interactions. Primarily, analysis revealed that lignin readily connects with both the wood and leather components. Lignin induces chemical change within the protein structure of leather, resembling tanning reactions, or protein complexation. By analogy, it was deduced that this interaction also takes place between leather and the lignin-rich wood fibre surface. This effect may be beneficial in industrial-scale production through improving resin binding properties during panel consolidation.
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