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Low-value wood for sustainable high-performance structural materials

Xiaofei Dong, Wentao Gan (), Ying Shang, Jianfu Tang, Yaoxing Wang, Zhifeng Cao, Yanjun Xie, Jiuqing Liu, Long Bai (), Jian Li () and Orlando J. Rojas ()
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Xiaofei Dong: Northeast Forestry University
Wentao Gan: Northeast Forestry University
Ying Shang: Northeast Forestry University
Jianfu Tang: Northeast Forestry University
Yaoxing Wang: Northeast Forestry University
Zhifeng Cao: Northeast Forestry University
Yanjun Xie: Northeast Forestry University
Jiuqing Liu: Northeast Forestry University
Long Bai: Northeast Forestry University
Jian Li: Northeast Forestry University
Orlando J. Rojas: University of British Columbia

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 7, 628-635

Abstract: Abstract Wood is a renewable and eco-friendly resource with great promise to advance sustainability in various industries, particularly those associated with construction and building materials. To maximize wood uses, here we show a processing route that transforms low-value wood (residual, damaged, decayed, disposed or fractured) into lightweight and strong structural materials. The process involves delignification, combined with partial dissolution and regeneration, to expose cellulose fibrils originally present in the cell walls. The latter form strong hydrogen bonding networks at interphases, leading to a ‘healed’ wood with a mechanical strength that exceeds that of typical metals and commercial laminated wood. Moreover, recyclability as well as excellent resistance against organic solvents are demonstrated, providing a promising valorization and sustainability pathway for low-value wood.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00887-8

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