Research projects on the Forest Products are focused on chemistry related pulping and bleaching, the new use of cellulosic fibres and the modification of fibre surface properties, behaviour of polyelectrolytes and polyelectrolyte complexes in solution and surfaces, adhesion to press rolls in paper machines and the prevention of deposition.
The objective of pulping and bleaching research is to form a detailed picture of the chemistry of kraft cooking and bleaching processes. This is accomplished with model compound studies and by simulating the industrial processes both in laboratory-scale and computationally.
The understanding of the fibre cell wall structure is deepened through an application of the most modern high resolution analytical techniques such as Atomic Force Microscopy and its combination with Raman Spectroscopy. Research aims at understanding the properties and processing of wood at the most fundamental level.
Raman spectroscopy is a versatile technique to characterise wood-based materials. This technique can be applied to solids, liquids or samples in aqueous solutions. Furthermore, bulk, microscopic particle or surface analysis can be performed for the samples. Despite of its diversity, Raman spectroscopy is less widely used than infrared spectroscopy. This is largely due to possible sample degradation during the measurement and fluorescence. However, these problems can be solved partially by choosing proper measurement parameters. In the Laboratory of Forest Product Chemistry, Raman spectroscopy has been applied widely to characterise wood, pulp and paper samples.
Usage of the nanotechnology in the forest products sector is increasing. The objective of the research is to utilize developments in nanotechnology and material science in papermaking and on the other to find new high-end applications of cellulosic nanofibrils. One approach is to modify the surface of fibres, fillers or paper with polymers based nanostructures. Another is to use nanoscaled pigments or fibrils.
Better understanding of the behaviour of various polyelectrolyte and polyelectrolyte complexes on surface and in solution are one the main areas of the research. In this way desired properties can be attained. The gained knowledge and development concepts are used to improve wet and dry strengths of paper, flocculation and retention, as well as to modify paper surface.
Different strategies to prevent deposition to various surfaces in paper machines are also researched. The approach is to study the adsorption behaviour of fouling substances and their adhesion to different modified surfaces.