Researchers turn a non-toxic residue into wood coating that resists abrasion, stain, and sunlight — ScienceDaily

Victoria D. Doty

Due to the global efforts to fulfill sustainability criteria, numerous international locations are presently hunting to substitute concrete with wood in buildings. France, for case in point, will demand that all new public buildings will be designed from at minimum 50 percent wood or other sustainable materials beginning in 2022.

Simply because wood is susceptible to degradation when uncovered to sunlight and humidity, protecting coatings can assistance provide wood into broader use. Scientists at Aalto University have employed lignin, a natural polymer considerable in wood and other plant sources, to develop a protected, minimal-value and large-undertaking coating for use in development.

‘Our new coating has fantastic opportunity to protect wood. It really is extra h2o repellent than a good deal of professional coatings since it retains the natural structure of wood and its micro-scaled roughness. Given that it can be hydrophobic, the coating is also really resistant to stains, whilst lignin’s inherent structure resists color variations from sunlight. It also does an great career of retaining wood’s breathability,’ clarifies Alexander Henn, doctoral candidate at Aalto University, The College of Chemical Engineering.

Lignin is often regarded as a squander product of pulping and biorefinery processes. Each and every yr, about 60-one hundred twenty million tonnes of lignin is isolated around the world, of which 98 percent is incinerated for electrical power restoration. Lignin has many beneficial attributes having said that, the inadequate solubility of most lignin sorts and the mediocre functionality of lignin-centered merchandise have so significantly restricted its professional programs.

‘Lignin as a coating substance is essentially extremely promising with its numerous benefits when compared to the artificial and bio-centered coatings presently employed. It has great anti-corrosion, anti-bacterial, anti-icing, and UV-shielding attributes. Our upcoming analysis will concentrate on producing characteristics like elasticity of the coating’, suggests Monika Österberg, Head of the Division of Bioproducts and Biosystems at Aalto University.

Currently, commonly employed mechanically protecting coatings for materials these kinds of as wood, concrete, metals, and composites are petroleum-centered, which include substances that are unsafe for the atmosphere. Vegetable-oil coatings — like those designed from tall, linseed, coconut, soybean, and castor — can be extra sustainable possibilities but they often absence sturdiness. As a end result, these oils are often blended with artificial materials to increase their functionality.

A lot more sustainable and non-harmful possibilities can assistance the coating sector fulfill new safety laws. For case in point, the amount of money of risky natural and organic compounds (VOCs) has been controlled not only due to their effect on health and fitness but also on the ozone layer. In the same way, the European Union (EU) has put restrictions on some chemical substances employed by the coating sector, these kinds of as bisphenol A and formaldehyde (employed in epoxy and polyurethane coatings), and not too long ago labeled titanium dioxide — a single of the most commonly employed pigments in paints — as a course II carcinogen.

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Materials offered by Aalto University. Be aware: Material may possibly be edited for design and style and length.

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