We are looking at enzymes that will provide an efficient pre-treatment of wood fibers to help generate microfibrillated cellulose (MFC). MFC is actually the nano-scale fibrils that compose the cell wall of a wood fiber. Well controlled shear fields will also be studied to understand the stress levels and conditions that are required to release the fibils. The goal is to reduce the energy required to release fibrils from wood fibers. Future work will characterize the change in mechanical properties of composite materials made with these fibrils.
In Other Words
Our work is looking at how to release the very small fibers that are contained in a single wood fiber. These small fibers may have special properties that can be used to make new materials.