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Advanced wood materials for filter technologies

Project Leader
Konnerth Johannes, Project Leader
Joint Projects
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
ETH Zurich, Institute for Building Materials, Wood Material Science Group, Stefano-Franscini-Platz 3, 8093 Zuerich, Austria.
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Ingo Burgert;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Gusenbauer Claudia, Project Staff
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Wood Technology and Renewable Materials
Funded by
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) , Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
The aim of the project is to develop and utilize facile and versatile protocols for the functionalization of wood resulting in wood-based materials with novel property profiles. In particular, our goal is to use the porous and anisotropic structure of wood as a scaffold for the design of functional materials. To achieve this, we plan to modify different wood species, by introducing polymer chains into the cell and cell wall structure. Synthetic polymer chains will be directly grown from the wood polymers, via radicals generated in-situ from pre-attached polymerization initiators. Through this method, we will ensure covalent attachment (for improved treatment stability) in the natural cell and cell wall scaffold. According to the choice of monomer, we anticipate that new wood properties can be implemented and/or new functions can be tailored and utilized. We have already developed the basic principle of this modular protocol and have used this approach to modify wood with polystyrene, in order to make it hydrophobic for an improved dimensional stability. The approach for bulk wood modification through the grafting of functional polymers would be the first of its kind and therefore offers an innovative and general strategy for obtaining wood-based materials with tunable properties.
In order to control the location, distribution and function of the introduced polymers an in depth knowledge and comprehension of both the raw material as well as the modified material is essential. Adapted characterization techniques are therefore necessary to support the modification phase of the project. Chemical force microscopy (CFM) is considered as a key-technique being able to directly address the existing as well as the introduced function via the exposed functional groups available in wood and the introduced polymers. As CFM is a very versatile high resolution atomic force microscopy based technique, it is capable of accessing a wide range of functional groups in various liquid or gaseous conditions even at the smallest features of the cell scaffold.
The targeted applications of the functionalized bulk wood bodies are membranes for waste water purification and oil-water separation, since in particular in these fields of utilization we spot main advantages of wood in comparison to other materials. Being optimized by nature for long-distance water transport and mechanical stability in the tree, wood stands for a highly porous material with excellent mechanical performance and robustness in the wet state which facilitates substantial throughput and large scale possibilities. Further, being a renewable and readily available resource, wood is a timely alternative material to petroleum based products.
Chemical physics; Materials physics; Materials physics; Surface physics; Natural product chemistry; Surface chemistry; Physical chemistry ; Physical chemistry ; Polymer sciences; Functional materials; Wood research; Wastewater treatment; Nanoanalytics; Nanomaterials;
Chemical Force Microscopy; Filter; Functional Polymer; Functional Wood; Atomic Force Mikroskopy;
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