PI: Anna Ström, Chalmers;
Co-PI: Mikael Hedenqvist, KTH, Anette Larsson, Chalmers, Fabrice Cousin, LLB (France)
PhD Student: Ratchawit (Leo) Janewithayapun
Duration: 4 years, starting September 2021
Reference Group: Lantmännen and Tetra Pak
Background and Aim
The aim of the current project is to generate fundamental physical knowledge of key factors enabling polysaccharides derived from side-streams thermoplastic. We focus specifically on material obtained from wheat bran, a major agro-industrial side stream. The extracted material that we will use composed of arabinoxylan (approx 60%), lignin (approx. 10%), cellulose (approx. 15%) and others (15%). This material is hereafter referred to as AX. The AX will be oxidized and etherified. The oxidation steps introduce a ring-opening of the the AX, with clear similarities to the materials used in FibRe project #1 (Assessment of the homogeneity of chemical modifications aimed for thermoplasticisation of cellulosic fibres, Cecilia Fager) and #12 (Effect of moisture on processing of dialcoholcellulose affecting design of process equipment, Katarina Jonasson). Our project´s aim is to correlate flexibility of modified AX backbone and sidechains with its glass transition temperature (Tg) and thermal processability. We will in addition focus on X-ray and neutron scattering profiles of the oxidized and modified AX and correlate these to AX topology. At last, we aim to determine biodegradability and thermoplastic recyclability of modified AX.
Describe how this project addresses the hypotheses in FibRe
The project will contribute to hypothesis 1 and 2 through complementary understanding of the thermoplasticity of relevant hemicelluloses. In addition, we will use LSRI techniques and melt rheology, methods that will be useful for several projects within FibRe with the aim of developing thermoplastic lignocellulose.