The use of cost effective solvents may be necessary to store wood pyrolysis bio-oil in order to stabilize and control its viscosity, but this part of the production system has not been explored. Conversely, any rise in viscosity during storage, that would occur without a solvent, will add variance to the production system and render it cost ineffective. The purpose of this study was to modify bio-oil with a common solvent and then react the bio-oil with an epoxy for bonding of wood without any loss in properties. The acetone pretreatment of the bio-oil/epoxy mixture was found to improve the cross-linking potential and substitution rate based on its mechanical, chemical, and thermal properties. Specifically, the bio-oil was blended with epoxy resin at weight ratios ranging from 2:1 to 1:5 and were then cured. A higher bio-oil substitution rate was found to lower the shear bond strength of the bio-oil/epoxy resins. However, when an acetone pretreatment was used, it was possible to replace the bio-oil by as much as 50% while satisfying usage requirements. Extraction of the bio-oil/epoxy mixture with four different solvents demonstrated an improvement in cross-linking after acetone pretreatment. ATR-FTIR analysis confirmed that the polymer achieved a higher cross-linked structure. DSC and TGA curves showed improved thermal stability with the addition of the acetone pretreatment. UV-Vis characterization showed that some functional groups of the bio-oil to epoxy system were unreacted. Finally, when the resin mixture was utilized to bond wood, the acetone pretreatment coupled with precise tuning of the bio-oil:epoxy ratio was an effective method to control cross-linking while ensuring acceptable bond strength.
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