Start Date: Sep 01, 2014
End Date: Aug 31, 2016
The approach to meet these research objectives includes a variety of experimental designs. Much of the materials evaluated will be provided from industrial cooperators to ensure results will be relevant to the marketplace (producers & consumers). Research will be conducted by a combination of faculty, graduate students, and research staff with results communicated to stakeholders through written and oral presentations, publications, and discussions. Specific approaches for the five objective areas are provided as follows. 1) Aqueous suspensions of nanofibrillated cellulose will be coated on paper basesheets using a high speed laboratory coating procedure for a range of process conditions. The physical and mechanical characteristics of the material will be evaluated, correlated with process conditions, and compared to coated papers currently on the market. 2) Aqueous suspensions of nanofibrillated cellulose and cellulose nanocrystals will be spray dried for a range of inlet drying gas temperatures, solids concentration, and liquid feed rate. Morphology, surface energy, and thermal behavior of the spray dried material will be quantified and related to processing conditions. 3) Lumber will be provided from a sawmill in Maine. Lumber grade recovery will be evaluated at the mill and compared against top log diameter. Mechanical performance of the lumber will be evaluated following standards. 4) A precision shaker table will be developed to accurately replicate transport and handling conditions wood pellets are exposed to. This device will then be used to evaluate pellet durability as influenced by pellet moisture content, species composition, size, and processing temperature. All pellets will be sources from mill located in the state of Maine. Additionally, an evaluation of combustible gasses generated during thermal composition will be made as a function of softwood/hardwood species composition. 5) OSB panels will be produced by a commercial facility with a pMDI adhesive with a second set containing an extended pMDI adhesive. The two sets of panels will be fully tested per ASTM D6815 to assess their creep performance. All tests will be conducted in a temperature/humidity controlled facility. Additional information on the approach for the five specific objectives are provided in the attached Appendix.