Research at FibRe

The cornerstone of FibRe is scientific excellence based on strategic industrial needs of Swedish industry. The industrial needs and the jointly assigned boundary conditions (environmental, techno-economical and gender equality) set the framework for the research in FibRe.

FibRe generates the strategic fundamental understanding of how lignocellulosic modifications should be conducted to enable replacement of today´s bulk thermoplastics; with expected significant impact on development of materials and processing conditions for the full value-chain of industrial partners in FibRe. The scientific advancements will develop and maintain excellent science, aimed for publications in high ranked peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. The research activities in FibRe will be conducted as PhD-projects, post-doc projects, and support projects to enhance the knowledge-base.

In order to shape materials into products via thermoforming, they must contain a phase that can be deformed by shear forces at elevated temperature. Lignocellulose-based materials cannot be thermo-formed as they cannot withstand a sufficiently high temperature without thermal degradation. Lignocellulose-based materials can achieve thermo-forming properties by substantial chemical modification, however, as a consequence, other mechanical properties are likely deteriorated.

Our aim

​Our aim is to retain the mechanical properties of the lignocellulose-based materials while conducting as minimal chemical modification as possible but still accomplish thermo-forming properties
to use delignified (bleached) kraft pulp and non-delignified agriculture-sourced materials as starting materials.

The core partners and PIs in FibRe have together stated a set of thoughts that can be summarized as:

FibRe envisions that thermoplastic lignocellulosic materials can be achieved by the presence of a phase than can be sheared and we have formulated two hypotheses to achieve such phase:

  • Hypothesis 1 - The starting point is lignocellulosic materials with high lignin-content:
    A thermoplastic shear plane is created by modification of the intermediate phase between the load bearing elements by for example addition of compounds that may modify or swell this intermediate phase.
  • ​Hypothesis 2 - The starting point is bleached wood pulp:
    ​A thermoplastic shear plane is created by chemical modification at the surface of load bearing elements, for example fibers, fibril aggregates or fibrils, resulting in no or minimal addition of a thermoplastic carrier material to gain a thermoplastic material.

The research in FibRe will be organized and conducted in three closely connected, interdependent Research Competence Areas (RCAs):

  1. Molecular modification
  2. Advanced characterization
  3. Predictive processing

Each RCA will be led by a RCA-leader, who also is a member of the management team.