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Polymers 2018, 10(11), 1240; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10111240

Multiscale Modification of Populus cathayana by Alkali Lignin Combined with Heat Treatment

Beijing Key Laboratory of Wood Science and Engineering, MOE Key Laboratory of Wooden Material Science and Application, Beijing Forestry University, Qinghua Eastroad 35#, Haidian, Beijing 100083, China
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Beijing Key Laboratory of Wood Science and Engineering, MOE Key Laboratory of Wooden Material Science and Application, Beijing Forestry University, Qinghua Eastroad 35, Haidian, Beijing 100083, China; zhzbjfu@163.com (H.Z.); ljyemma@163.com (J.L.)
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Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Based Polymers for Engineered Green Materials)
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Abstract

Chemical modification of wood with green modifiers is highly desirable for sustainable development. With the aim of enhancing the water resistance and dimensional stability of fast growing wood, modifications were conducted using renewable and toxicity-free industrial lignin combined with heat treatment. Poplar (Populus cathayana) samples first underwent impregnation with alkali lignin solution and were then subjected to heat treatment at 140–180 °C for two hours. The results indicated that the modified wood showed excellent leaching resistance. The alkali lignin treatment improved surface hydrophobicity and compression strength, and decreased moisture and water uptake, thereby reducing the dimensional instability of modified wood. These changes became more pronounced as the heat-treating temperature increased. Scanning electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy evidenced that a multiscale improvement of the alkali lignin occurred in the cell lumen and cell wall of wood fibers and vessels, with small alkali lignin molecules reacting with the wood matrix. This study paves the way for developing an effective modification approach for fast growing wood, as well as promoting the reuse of industrial lignin for high-value applications, and improves the sustainable development of the forestry industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: wood modification; alkali lignin; water resistance; dimensional stability; heat treatment wood modification; alkali lignin; water resistance; dimensional stability; heat treatment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Zhou, H.; Li, J.; Ma, E. Multiscale Modification of Populus cathayana by Alkali Lignin Combined with Heat Treatment. Polymers 2018, 10, 1240.

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