Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Nicole Labbé, Paul Frymier

Committee Members

David Harper, Timothy Rials

Abstract

Research has already shown that the extraction of a valuable hemicellulose-rich stream is a viable option for revenue generation in the pulp and paper industries. Applying the value prior to pulping concept to the composite panel industry is a natural extension. If a hemicellulose extraction is accomplished under the right conditions, a non-trivial amount of fine chemicals can be generated, while leaving the woody substrate structurally intact for production to traditional products, such as oriented strand board (OSB). According to literature, the removal of hemicellulose can increase the dimensional stability while decreasing the degradability of OSB panels. This research studied the effects of hemicellulose removal by hot water extraction on softwood OSB wood flakes. Three reaction hold temperatures (120, 140, 160 deg C) and three isothermal hold times (20, 40, 60 min) were investigated. This research focuses on the changes that occurred in the physical and chemical properties of the wood flakes after extraction at each condition, while characterizing and classifying changes that occur in the liquid phase hydrolysates. Results indicated the extraction of hemicellulose in quantifiable levels begins at 120 deg. C and 40 mins and cellulose extraction begins at 140 deg C, 40 mins. The level of extraction of lignocellulosic materials, the decrease of wood flake thickness, and the acidity of the recovered hydrolysates all increase with an increase in extraction severity. The most promising results in regards to industrial implementation of OSB flake extraction occur at an extraction temperature of 140 deg C and 20 mins, coupled with hydrolysate conversion to high value chemicals.

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