Evaluating the feasibility of chitosan as an adhesive for wood laminates and as a matrix for transparent wood

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Kemian tekniikan korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Biomaterial Science
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Nordic Master in Polymer Technology (N5PolTech)
One of the mainstays of any sustainable system is the implementation of a circular economy, which promotes the reuse and recycling of materials. Plastics are one of the most problematic entities in this regard because of the sheer scale of production, their variety, and their recalcitrant nature. A proposed solution to this problem, one which has seen increasing research in the past decades, is replacing synthetic plastics with suitable bio-based alternatives. This work aimed to explore two possibilities in this regard, (1) Transparent wood (TW) and (2) Adhesives for wood. Evaluating the utility of chitosan as a replacement for the synthetic portions of these materials was the primary aim of this study. TW utilizes the inherently desirable properties of wood and increases its avenues of application by changing its optical properties but needs an impregnation matrix, which is a synthetic polymer, for fabrication. This work studied the variation of chitosan impregnation with pressure and drying conditions. Microscopy, gravimetry, water contact angle and dynamic mechanical analysis were used to gauge the efficacy of our methods. Alternatives to synthetic adhesives for wood and wood-composites are needed because of their associated problems with toxicity. Chitosan’s utility as an adhesive for wood has been documented to a considerable extent. However, not much work has been done with wood laminates, which were chosen as a secondary focal point of this work. Adhesive testing was carried out via lap-shear measurements. Results indicated that chitosan, instead of infiltrating the wood structure, was primarily deposited on its surface and specific tests for determining laminate strength fell out of the scope of this study
Hughes, Mark
Thesis advisor
Lipponen, Sami
chitosan, transparent wood, adhesives, biopolymers
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