PI: Minna Hakkarainen
Postdoc: Nejla B. Erdal
(Bio)degradable materials have their place in applications where the degradability is part of the function of the material, when there is high risk for the product to end up in the environment or the product is contaminated by organic matter such as food residues. The materials, where degradability is part of the function are more easily achieved as they can be designed for specific disposal route or degradation environment with relatively well-defined and established conditions. For example, a plastic bag for garden waste or food waste can be designed to be degradable in compost by combined action of heat, moisture and bacteria. To ensure complete degradation within a relatively short time-frame in all environments is challenging due to the large variations depending on the type of environment, location and season. Understanding and revealing the interplay between polymer structure, environment and degradation process is a fascinating scientific field with large practical significance for the future of plastic materials including modified lignocellulose-materials.
Scientific: To gain deeper understanding concerning the influence of chemical and physical modification on the degradability of lignocellulose materials in open natural, human-impacted or man-made environments.
Technical: To compile a synthesis report on existing knowledge concerning degradation of modified lignocellulose materials and the relationships between the type of material modification and susceptibility to degradation in different environments.
Description of how this project addresses the hypotheses in FibRe___________________
All chemical and physical modifications influence the degradation process and susceptibility of materials to different environmental parameters. Deeper understanding concerning the influence of different modifications on the degradation process under environmentally relevant conditions is crucial and contributes to knowledge-based design of lignocellulose materials for different end-of-life scenarios.