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A novel material concept for high strength cellulose composites

Coordinator: Ingo Burgert, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
iburgert (at) ethz.ch

Other partners: AT, FI, SE
Project duration: 02/2019-05/2022

Project abstract:

The main objective of the project “A novel material concept for high strength cellulose composites (Acronym Strong Composite)” was to explore the optimization, scalability and implementation of cellulose composite materials, produced by wood delignification protocols, while retaining the beneficial fibre directionality of wood. Subsequent functionalization and/or densification steps as well as the impregnation with different resin systems were conducted to achieve renewable high performance products for various fields of application.

Several delignification treatments were successfully applied to different wood species resulting in (partly) delignified wood scaffolds with increased porosity and facilitated formability in the wet state and strongly improved mechanical properties after densification and drying. The hierarchical structure of the wood scaffolds was utilized in various functionalization treatments to exploit the porosity of the cellulosic structures, and diversify application potentials of the materials concept beyond high mechanical performance by equipping the cellulose materials with new functionality. Impregnating the cellulose scaffolds with several resin systems, including a modular bio-based binder system, resulted in high-strength cellulose composites with tuneable impregnation patterns. The delignification process was upscaled to produce veneers of ~1m2 size in a processes step with batch sizes of 30 veneers, which could be used by the project partners for further processing and served as demonstrators to connect to companies with business fields in various applications.

Based on the achievements in materials development, process optimization and upscaling, we performed application-related studies to explore the feasibility and advantages of cellulose composites for the production of enhanced laminated beam elements and OSB-like panels as well as for the design of furniture with exceptional formability and mechanical performance.

Project website: link
Project presentation at ForestValue kick-off seminar 23-24 May 2019: pdf
Stakeholder Article_1_StrongComposite – Biomimetics in Wood Adhesives
Stakeholder_Article_2_StrongComposite – High-Strength Cellulose Composites
Stakeholder_Article_3_StrongComposite – Delignified Wood-Gelatin Composites