PI: Anna Ström and Mikael Hedenqvist
Postdoc: Bahiru Tsegaye
Duration: 23 months starting from November 2021
Scalable technologies are vital in order to increase the competitiveness or commercial viability of thermoplastic lignocellulose over petroleum based plastics. Native lignocellulose materials lack thermoplastic properties. However, modification such as changing the functionality or polarity by ring opening reactions, grafting of chemical groups and adding of plasticizers and lubricants are done to enable thermoplastic properties in the modified lignocellulose. These paves a way for processing and developing thermoplastic products from the modified lignocellulose via conventional processing equipment such as extruders and injection moulding. However, the types of reactions and the level of processing (lab/bench scale, pilot scale or large scale) used influence the thermal and rheological properties as well as the overall thermoplastic properties of the modified lignocellulose. Therefore, property correlations between small scale and large scale processing are necessary to develop thermoplastic lignocellulose. This study focuses on identifying key properties, which significantly influence the properties of modified lignocellulose during upscaling processes. The study gives insight about the main thermoplastic properties influencing the modified lignocellulose during the scale up process.
Scientific: Develop process-property correlations necessary for scaling up successfully thermoplastic lignocellulose products. What are the main molecular and processing-related mechanisms to control for a successful upscaling process?
Technical: To use processing/rheological methods/data, physicochemical methods and mechanical methods to address upscaling issues, and propose methods to solve these.
Description of how this project addresses the hypotheses in FibRe
Correlating the property relationship between thermoplastic lignocellulose processed in small scale and large scale, addresses how important the thermoplasticity are during the scale up process of modified lignocellulose. The project will reveal the important mechanisms on a molecular/fibre scale for obtaining thermoplasticity on a larger scale.